July 9, 2020
Welcome back to PSA Thursday, a mostly-weekly segment in which we talk about how to handle money, work, and life in the middle of a pandemic. This week, we focus on life and staying safe when venturing outside of your home. Many of us are concerned with reducing the risk of coronavirus infection in places like grocery stores, gas stations, or backyard BBQs, but the guidelines on how to stay safe aren't always clear. In this episode, we discuss specific precautions to take... When using a public toilet When picking up food at a quick-serve restaurant When you're exercising at the gym When filling your car with gas In your general day-to-day life when you're out and about For more information, visit the show notes at
July 6, 2020
#264: An anonymous listener, whom we call “Mary,” is curious about the auto-rebalancing feature offered by M1 Finance. Is it too good to be true? J isn’t happy with the target date retirement fund she chose for her 401k. She has limited options and is wondering: should she move funds around? If so, is now a bad time, considering the market volatility? Another anonymous listener is wondering how to choose the right mix of investments for a retirement portfolio. She also wants tips on rebalancing a portfolio. And when should she execute a Roth conversion? Tami has $160,000 in a G fund in her TSP. Should she move this money to a Lifestyle fund to increase her earnings? Andy and his wife contribute the maximum to their children’s 529 accounts, and they have three investment options to choose from. Should they continue with an aggressive managed portfolio, or choose something less risky? My friend and former financial planner Joe Saul-Sehy and I answer these questions on today’s episode. Enjoy! For more information, visit the show notes at
July 2, 2020
Here's the sordid history of the Payroll Protection Program, plus four additional options for getting pandemic relief as an entrepreneur. In this episode we share the following resources for small businesses: Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) Employee Retention Credit. SBA 7(a) Program Mainstream Lending Program   For more information, visit the show notes at
June 30, 2020
#263: It’s been a tough year, and we’re only halfway through it. Today’s guest has insights and actions to help you build financial resilience in 2020. Not only will you emerge from the events of this year stronger, you’ll also face future personal challenges and economic downturns with more confidence and knowledge. Our guest is Dr. Brad Klontz, a clinical psychologist and Certified Financial Planner. He’s the author of five books on the psychology of money, a founder of the Financial Psychology Institute, a managing principal of Your Mental Wealth Advisors, and a fellow of the American Psychological Association. He’s also a former associate professor of personal financial planning at Kansas State. Dr. Klontz appeared on our show in April 2018 to discuss unhealthy attitudes towards money. We invited him back for his expertise on coping with recent situations and developing financial resilience For more information, visit the show notes at
June 23, 2020
#262: Tyson is taking a year off of work and plans to devote some of his time to domestic travel, volunteer work, and bolstering his rental property portfolio. He originally planned to travel internationally, but won’t due to the pandemic. How does this plan sound? Jace is wondering whether she should take advantage of the low stock market prices or keep a larger emergency fund due to the pandemic. Which is the better option, given her goal of financial independence? Jace also wants to know: where do you park your money after maxing out a 401k and Roth IRA? Venkat had to relocate after living in a condo for one year. He rents out the condo, but he’s in the red. Should he sell this condo? If so, when? Kate and her husband own a townhome that has appreciated substantially, but they need a bigger house. They’re wondering: is it wise to keep it, rent it out, and use a cash-out refinance as a downpayment on their next property? TW has $250,000 in cash that he can use to either pay off his rental property or purchase two more properties. Which is the better option? For more information, visit the show notes at
June 19, 2020
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June 15, 2020
I quit my job at the beginning of a recession and made it work. Two years ago, I did an interview with Lessons From a Quitter explaining how. Given that so many community members want to leave their jobs for something better in the future, whether it's freelancing, self-employment, or early retirement, I'm re-airing the interview. I hope my story sheds light on what's possible in the most inopportune times. For more information, visit the show notes at
June 8, 2020
#260: Katelyn wants to fire her financial advisor and move her investments from mutual funds into Vanguard index funds. Should she do this during the pandemic? Or should she wait? Marisa asks: can you invest in a Roth IRA if your income is inconsistent and might exceed the cap? Anonymous Moving-for-a-New-Job had a Simple IRA at her old job that she can no longer contribute to. She also can’t contribute to a 401k until she’s been at her new job for a year. Where should she put her money in the meantime? Anonymous “Olivia” is interested in a Roth conversion ladder, but wants to know: does the pro-rata rule apply here as it does with a backdoor Roth conversion? Mary received an $80,000 grant of RSUs from her employer when she started. These RSUs began to vest after one year, and the price per share has increased 44 percent. What should she do with the shares? My friend and former financial planner Joe Saul-Sehy and I tackle these questions in today’s episode. Enjoy! For more information, visit the show notes at
June 5, 2020
#259: Leadership comes in all forms. Whether you’re a small business owner, a manager or department head at work, or the head of a volunteer organization, having a crystal clear vision is critical to success. Without a clear vision, you’re likely to stumble along a path that leads to nowhere -- or worse, a dead end. Wouldn’t it be better to have an idea of where you’re going? Michael Hyatt, a prolific bestselling author on the topics of business and leadership, shares the pitfalls of not having a vision and 10 ways to nail down a solid vision that will lead you to the path you want to be on. Check out bonus resources:
June 4, 2020
We have muted the podcast thusfar this week, in support of the #amplifymelanatedvoices movement and in support of the #theshowmustbepaused movement. We have assembled a list of resources that highlight books, websites, podcasts, nonprofit organizations and GoFundMe campaigns that I would like to direct your attention to in lieu of our normal programming. These resources can be found at We are also matching $3,000 in donations to the Committee to Protect Journalists, the Atlanta Community Food Bank, and the Children's Development Association. Please DM me on Instagram with a screenshot of your donation and I'll match it. Instagram: paulapant
May 29, 2020
Let's start with the good news: the majority of U.S. households, 6 in 10, donate money to nonprofits and charities, and 1 in 4 adults in the U.S. volunteer their time and talent. The only way our society is going to get through the struggles and the stresses that we face is if we are good to each other. Compassion and common humanity are crucial. In this PSA episode we discuss strategies around giving, including how to donate money and volunteer time effectively, as well as how to embrace the opportunity to practice informal, random, spontaneous acts of kindness.
May 26, 2020
“Burned Out in Boston” wants to reach financial independence. But she’s not sure she can stick it out in Boston much longer. She and her husband want to move to an area that doesn’t have many job prospects, and they want to make this leap soon, ideally before they reach FI. How do they know when it’s the right time to jump ship to their dream location? We tackle this topic, plus four other questions about stock market and real estate investing strategy, on today's Ask Paula episode. Enjoy! For more information, visit the show notes at
May 22, 2020
Hey there! We're in the middle of enrollment week for our course, Your First Rental Property, which is occupying our time and attention, so unfortunately we won't be airing a PSA Thursday episode this week. Bummer! But don't worry!! We'll be back next week with an "Ask Paula" episode on Monday, a PSA Thursday episode about charitable giving, and an interview with business leader Michael Hyatt that'll air the following Monday. We also have two new blog posts -- which you can read here (link) and here (link) -- both of which describe the 2020 housing market. Are we due for a real estate crash? These articles elaborate. Finally, our flagship online course, Your First Rental Property, is open for enrollment THIS WEEK ONLY! It's a 10-week online course that walks you, step-by-step, A-to-Z, through everything you need to know as a beginner rental property investor. You can learn all about it (and check out our detailed FAQ's) at That's the update this week. Have an awesome weekend ... and hopefully I'll also see you in class! - Paula
May 18, 2020
#257: “The checking account is like the trash can of personal finance.”   Today’s podcast guest, the famed behavioral economist Dr. Dan Ariely, is not a fan of checking accounts. Or supermarket end caps. Or anything that distracts us from our financial goals.   In this episode, he explains why.   Dan Ariely is one of the world’s most renowned behavioral economists. He’s the James B. Duke Professor of psychology and behavioral economics at Duke University.   His TED Talks have been viewed more than 15 million times. In 2018, he was named one of the 50 most influential living psychologists in the world.   He’s the New York Times bestselling author of many books, including Predictably Irrational, a book that challenges our assumptions about our ability to make rational decisions. He also wrote Dollars and Sense, a book about our cognitive biases, and The Honest Truth About Dishonesty, a book about how we lie to everyone, including ourselves.   For more information, visit the show notes at
May 14, 2020
How can you find business and investment opportunities in today’s tough pandemic bear market? What should you do to emerge from 2020 stronger than you started? We cover 7 specific, immediate actions that can set you up to succeed in this recession. Here's a peek: think about hiring a team, create an original piece of work, take online classes, and keep your plans intact (even if that means quitting an unfulfilling job).   For more information, visit the show notes at
May 11, 2020
#256: Jon is wondering if now is a good time to move his RRSP into a tax-free savings account, given the market downturn. He knows you can’t time the market, but the opportunity is tempting. What should he do? Laurel’s question revolves around the CARE Act and early withdrawal from a 401k. She needs to rebalance her 401k and wants to buy a rental. Instead of selling stocks, should she sell bonds as a form of rebalancing and to withdraw for a rental property? After seeing so many businesses experience financial hardship, Rebecca and her husband are curious: why don’t companies have emergency funds? Salome sees the stock market downturn as an opportunity for tax-loss harvesting, but does this hold if you’ve held stocks for less than a year? Sheena has the option to purchase company stock at a 15 percent discount through an Employer Stock Purchasing Plan. However, it’s volatile right now. Should she contribute the maximum amount, or nothing? My friend and former financial planner Joe Saul-Sehy joins me to answer these questions. Enjoy! For more information, visit the show notes at
May 7, 2020
Before the pandemic, the U.S. housing market was strong. Home prices were at historic highs. Borrowers were more qualified than ever, with two-thirds of mortgage originations going to borrowers with excellent credit. As of January 2020, delinquencies (borrowers more than 30 days late on a payment) reached a 20-year low. How has the pandemic affected the market? Are we due for another spate of foreclosures? What's going to happen to housing supply? What about demand? Are buyers still buying? Are sellers still selling? And if you're thinking about buying a home -- either as an owner-occupant or as a rental property investor -- what do you need to know about the new pandemic landscape? We dig into depth in this short, researched-packed PSA Thursday episode. For more information, visit the show notes at
May 4, 2020
#255: When a crisis hits, do you stay calm and collected, or do you launch yourself down a rabbit hole of worry and worst-case scenarios? When the stock market spirals downward, do you shrug and stay the course, or do warning bells explode in your brain? When news of the pandemic hit, was your first instinct to form a calm and reasoned action plan, or rush to the store to buy months of supplies? Your personality influences your reactions to these scenarios. Today’s guest, Dr. Sarah Stanley Fallaw, has a Ph.D. in applied psychology and is the founder of DataPoints, a research firm based on the science of building wealth. What links between personality and money management has research uncovered? We discuss this topic in today’s episode. For more information, visit the show notes at
May 1, 2020
Lydia earns income as both a 1099 contract worker and a part-time W2 employee. She filed for unemployment as a W2 worker, but can’t find information on how to file as a contractor. Is there a process contractors can follow to file for unemployment? Florina and her husband have $70,000 in cash to invest. Where should they put this money in light of the current market? Ali and his wife saved eight months of living expenses in their emergency fund in case they get laid off during the pandemic. Is this too excessive? Danielle wants to take advantage of pandemic stock prices - what should she invest in? Anonymous in Real Estate wants to buy a multifamily property with the equity in their first rental as a downpayment. Their husband doesn’t want three mortgages. Should they accelerate mortgage pay-down and be one mortgage down in four years? I answer these five questions in today’s episode. Enjoy! For more information, visit the show notes at
April 30, 2020
Welcome back to PSA Thursday, a segment in which we talk about how to handle money, work, and life in the middle of a pandemic. Today, our focus is on money - specifically, the stock market. Why did it crash in March? What effect did that have on us as a society? Why has it rebounded in the middle of a shutdown, and what does that mean? Are valuations too high relative to earnings? How can we handle our investments and retirement savings at a time when the movements of the market seem irrational and unpredictable? We explore these questions in today's episode.
April 27, 2020
Dr. Steve Wendel is a behavioral economist and the head of behavioral science at Morningstar, an independent investment research firm. Samantha Lamas is also a behavioral researcher at Morningstar. They discuss the hidden biases in our decision making and how these hidden biases affect us - particularly during this pandemic and during times of high anxiety and stress. They also discuss techniques that will help us avoid deceiving ourselves. For more information, visit the show notes at
April 20, 2020
The government issued a $2 trillion stimulus. How will that affect the economy? Could we endure massive inflation or hyperinflation? Bradley kicks off today’s Ask Paula episode with this timely question. What inflation rate will we see in 2020, and how can we prepare? How should we hedge against hyperinflation? Anonymous Retiree (whom we call Sequencing Sally) is 64 and retired last year. She lives off of monthly withdrawals from a Vanguard portfolio. Given the bear market, should she leave her portfolio alone and spend from an emergency fund? Additionally, her target allocation is off-kilter. Should she rebalance now or later? Jay wants to reach financial independence in five years, but she’s in a job that will pay her $270,000 student loan balance if she stays there for another 17 years. Should she stay, or quit and face the balance? Jan has $500,000 in a managed fund with a three percent annual fee. He wants to move his funds into his Vanguard personal brokerage account, without incurring a ton of taxes from the sales of his holdings. How can he accomplish this? My friend and former financial planner Joe Saul-Sehy and I answer these questions in today’s episode. Enjoy! For more information, visit the show notes at
April 16, 2020
Download the 31 Tips to Stay Productive as you Work From Home at
April 13, 2020
#251: Do you love the idea of making money on your own -- without a boss? Can you imagine deciding how you spend each day? Are you bored and looking for a challenge? Do you love the thought of adventure? Today’s guest, Chris Guillebeau, knows all about hustling, living an unconventional life, working towards seemingly impossible goals, and combining his interests into an epic lifestyle business that brings him freedom and joy. Chris is the New York Times bestselling author of The Art of Non-Conformity, The $100 Startup, and The Pursuit of Happiness. He has traveled to 193 countries, served four years as a volunteer on a hospital ship in West Africa, and is a successful speaker, writer, and entrepreneur. Oh yeah, and he’s a high school dropout. (A super accomplished high school dropout.) How did Chris accomplish so much without a high school degree? How did he forge a path toward his goals despite depression and anxiety? What advice does he have for aspiring side hustlers and entrepreneurs? Find out in today’s episode. For more information, visit the show notes at
April 10, 2020
A weekly segment in which we talk about how to handle money, work, and life in the middle of a pandemic. Here's how to build an emergency fund during an emergency, and how the bear market affects your investment strategy.
April 8, 2020
#250: Should we invest in sustainable funds? If we choose sustainable funds, will our investment returns suffer? Will our expense ratios be sky-high? What drawbacks might we face? How do we know that these funds are actually ethical? And what choices are out there for people who want to invest ethically or sustainably? We invited Dr. Jon Hale to our show today to answer these questions. Dr. Jon Hale is a chartered financial analyst and the global head of sustainability research for Morningstar. He directs Morningstar’s research on sustainable investing, which launched with the Morningstar Sustainability Rating for Funds in 2016. For more information, visit the show notes at
April 3, 2020
#249: I’m recovering from Covid-19 at the moment, so I couldn't put together a new episode this week. But in honor of the First Friday of the month, I wanted to re-air this interview with Cameron Huddleston, which we originally aired in August 2019. In this interview, we discuss how to have those important but awkward conversations with your parents and grandparents about estate planning, wills, trusts, power of attorney, and more.
April 2, 2020
Paula describes the experience of having Covid-19, the illness caused by coronavirus.
March 25, 2020
#248: This time it is different. It really is. Does that mean you need to handle this Bear Market differently from all the others? Joining me today is Joe Saul-Sehy, host of the Stacking Benjamins Show, to talk about low interest rates, a down market, and what we should do about these unprecedented times.
March 23, 2020
It's Quarantine Day 10, and thank goodness I've been staying in, because yesterday I learned that I have a 102.3 degree fever. I don't know if it's Covid-19 or if it's a fever with extraordinarily bad timing.
March 19, 2020
A new segment giving tips to help flatten the curve and manage your money during this global event.
March 16, 2020
#247: Caroline wants to buy her first home in Denver, CO. How can she calculate how much mortgage she can comfortably afford? Anne plans to retire later this year on rental income (woohoo!). She’s saved up a hefty emergency fund for her properties, and she wants to know 1) if she should invest a portion of this in index funds, and 2) whether she should rebalance her portfolio to account for this huge cash allocation. Anonymous Nurse has over $100,000 in debt, not including their mortgage. They want to invest in rental properties, but with so much debt, they're thinking of selling their home or renting it out. Which option is best given their interest in real estate? Joy wants to know if she should put $50,000 towards her primary residence mortgage, or use it as a downpayment on her first rental property. What are the pros and cons of each option? Anonymous owns a cash-flow positive condo...on leased land. The land will revert back to the owners in 32 years. When is the best time to sell this property? I answer these five questions in today’s episode. Enjoy! For more information, visit the show notes at
March 9, 2020
#246: At 19 years old, after completing her first year of college, Jillian married her husband.  During their first year of marriage, they lived in a camper and earned a combined salary of $12,000. One year later, Jillian's husband graduated college and joined the military. They relocated to Washington D.C., where they earned a combined $60,000 per year. They saved half of their income and used that savings to chip away at $55,000 of debt. At 22 years old, Jillian and her husband adopted a son. Not long after that, they had a biological newborn. At 24 years old, they accumulated their first $100,000. Jillian and her husband remained committed to saving half of their income. This allowed them to buy a house in cash, invest in two rental properties, and invest in index funds. At 32 years old, Jillian and her husband achieved financial independence. All on a modest five-figure income.  How did Jillian and her husband live on $12,000 per year? How did they save $100,000 after three years on a $60,000 per year salary? What sacrifices did they make? And how did they transition from saving to spending? Find out in this raw, emotional interview. ____________ You'll enjoy this episode if: You earn less than six-figures and question your ability to reach financial independence Guilt prevents you from spending the money you’ve saved (“I can’t spend on X if I want to achieve FIRE!”) You want a relatable, realistic take on the journey to financial independence For more information, visit the show notes at 
March 6, 2020
#245: Joe has a 24-year-old friend who won a $1 million settlement. How can she use this money to set herself up for financial independence? Jay is 52 years old and wants to retire at 59.5. He began investing in individual stocks to achieve this goal, and has had excellent returns so far. Is this a sound plan for early retirement? Or should he work until age 62 for Social Security? Steve is 54 years old. He plans to retire at 60, which is when he can collect 67 percent of his pension. A Vanguard advisor suggested that he direct some of his 403b contributions as Roth contributions, rather than pre-tax contributions. Should he act on this suggestion? Anonymous in New York City wants to invest their HSA contributions this year, but the expense ratios seem high. Can they move their HSA to a different provider? What fees are normal for HSAs? Brit has a similar question. She wants to know: is it possible to invest in the S&P 500 Fossil Fuel Free Index through Vanguard? My friend and former financial advisor, Joe Saul-Sehy, joins me on the show to answer these six questions. Enjoy! For more information, visit the show notes at
March 2, 2020
#244: Grant Baldwin felt burned out. He worked as a youth pastor, which felt like a 24/7 profession. He had to attend student events held late into the night, which left him exhausted. One night, he came home to find his wife crying. She told him that she felt like she had a roommate, rather than a husband, because he was gone so often. So Grant did something drastic: he quit his job, with negligible savings, when his wife was four to five months pregnant. For the following year, he waited tables and worked odd jobs, cobbling together gig-economy money while raising a newborn. During his rare unscheduled moments, he started crafting a new career for himself as a self-employed public speaker. Today, Grant Baldwin is a speaker, entrepreneur, coach, and author of The Successful Speaker. He’s earned multiple seven-figures in speaking fees and has helped over 2,000 people become professional speakers. He shares how he made his dream a reality in this episode. For more information, visit the show notes at
February 27, 2020
#243: Adam is 23 years old and wants to achieve financial independence as quickly as possible. However, he’s nervous about investing in the stock market and real estate. How can he overcome his fears? Paris, age 35, has a similar question. She earns $150,000 per year, is debt-free, and doesn’t own a home. How can she reach financial independence in less than 10 years? Paul wants to househack his first home, but none of the properties he's seen meet the one percent rule. He doesn’t want to rent forever. Does he need to compromise on his commute time, or wait until he finds an undervalued gem? Anonymous Househacker rents an apartment with three bedrooms, two of which he rents out on an inconsistent, short-term basis. They want to know: does the money they earn count as rental income if they aren’t making a profit on it? Ben is a real estate investor who’s curious about growing his portfolio from four units to 20 units. What’s the best approach to take? I answer these five listener questions in today’s episode. Enjoy! For more information, visit the show notes at
February 17, 2020
#242: Ash Ambirge grew up in a trailer park in Pennsylvania. She never met her father. Her mother, who raised her on government assistance, passed away when she was 20. She came from nothing. Her goal? To join the middle class. Specifically, to become one of those people who eats lemon pepper chicken. When she finally made it, Ash blew her paychecks. She bought a brand new car and financed a $5,000 mattress. Still, something was lacking. Ash set out to find meaningful and creative work. She launched The Middle Finger Project, a company that teaches skills like entrepreneurship, battling perfectionism, and trusting your most dangerous ideas. She published a book in which she shares her incredible story about shrugging off a conventional career, and how you can do the same. For more information, visit the show notes at
February 10, 2020
#241: Anton wants to accelerate his flight training so he can get hired within two to three months, rather than two to three years. He has to raid his retirement savings to achieve this. Should he? Linda and her husband have their eyes on early retirement, but they aren’t sure what their post-retirement lifestyle will cost. How can they budget for unknown expenses that include travel? Joseph contributes 15 percent of his income to both a Roth 457b and Roth IRA. He wants to retire before age 59.5. Given his early retirement goal, should he focus solely on his Roth 457b? Henry wants to know how rebalancing and dollar cost averaging interact with each other. Should he rebalance his all-equities portfolio? If so, what approach should he take? Joe maxes out his 401k and IRA each year. He can make after-tax 401k contributions, or fund his Vanguard taxable brokerage account. Which should he prioritize? As usual, my friend and former financial advisor, Joe Saul-Sehy, joins me on the show to answer these five listener questions. Enjoy! For more information, visit the show notes at
February 7, 2020
#240: Are you investing, speculating, or gambling? What are the three drivers of asset performance? Are you aware of who’s getting a cut from your investments? Do you even know who’s on the other side of the trade? David Stein is the author of Money for the Rest of Us, a book that answers these questions. He’s the former Chief Investment Strategist & Chief Portfolio Strategist at Fund Evaluation Group, a $70 billion investment firm. If you’re thinking of adding a new investment to your portfolio, David’s investment philosophy and framework can help you avoid expensive mistakes. For more information, visit the show notes at
February 3, 2020
Lo is in a good spot with her career, but she’s struggling with a ton of student loan debt, and consequently, credit card debt. What should she do to manage it? Anonymous wants to know how to set up a backdoor Roth IRA. Eric and his wife own a property in Savannah, GA that brings in more money as an Airbnb than a traditional rental. They want to invest in more properties and are wondering if this model is the best path to take. James wants to own a vacation rental in the Vermont mountains that he can use when it’s vacant. What features or qualities would make a profitable vacation rental? What red flags should be on his radar? Ayesha is looking at buying a rental property that has a partial HUD claim on it. What kind of complications should she anticipate? Or should she let this property go completely? Shelbi and her husband own a rental property that they purchased for $178,000 that’s now valued at $300,000. They’re looking at a multitude of options - sell it, move into it, or keep it. What’s best given their FIRE goal? For more information, visit the show notes at
January 27, 2020
#238: “If I had more willpower, I’d achieve my financial goals.” “I’m doomed to fail with money.” “I’m horrible for not keeping to a budget.” These are common thoughts, but they’re erroneous. You can’t willpower your way through money management, you’re not doomed to fail, and you’re not horrible for blowing your budget. You’re human, and humans make emotional decisions. Those emotional decisions don’t have to mean a financial death sentence, though. Jeff Kreisler, co-author of Dollars and Sense and Editor-in-Chief of, tells us how we can avoid common money mistakes and rewrite our financial future. For more information, visit the show notes at
January 20, 2020
Katie wants to know how to purchase a business that’s already cash-flow positive. What indicators can she look for? Rob will retire from the military with an inflation-adjusted pension. Does he need a bond allocation in his investment portfolio? Brian conquered a large sum of credit card debt, but still has student loan debt and a mortgage. Should he pay off his student loans, refinance them, or refinance his mortgage? Jeff is curious about the pros and cons of investment apps. When should you use them? Another Kati (without an e!) wants to live a healthy and wealthy life before she’s 70. Where should she allocate her savings so she can retire early? We answer these five questions in today’s episode. For more information, visit the show notes at
January 13, 2020
#236: Kristy Shen and Bryce Leung achieved financial independence four years ago at age 31 and 32. They saved $1 million and live on $40,000 per year while traveling the world. Kristy and Bryce don’t worry about running out of money, they created new identities after quitting their jobs, and their community has quadrupled in size. Here’s how they achieved this lifestyle. For more information, visit the show notes at
January 6, 2020
#235: Anna has made the leap to self-employment … but what’s next? She lives in the Bay Area and she’s trying to choose between five business ideas; she needs to make enough money to stay in her high-cost area. Doug recently won $9,000 from an online poker side gig and is wondering how best to use the funds: pay off high-interest student loan debt, or keep it to increase his poker earning potential? Alex and his partner want to househack a single-family property with a mother-in-law suit. What should they consider as far as zoning goes? Darrell is on track to retire in two years at age 55 and wants to know what he should do with his primary residence. Should he rent it out? Or should he sell it and use the profit to invest in rental properties? Or use the profit to buy his retirement home? Mara is curious about 1031 exchanges. She has equity in a rental property that she’d like to harvest, but she wants more information before making the move. Michael and his wife are struggling with competing goals. They want to invest in real estate, but they also want to move into an apartment closer to work to reduce their long commutes. Should they sell their home and invest the equity into a rental property, or should they take a HELOC on their home instead? For more information, visit the show notes at
January 3, 2020
We review 26 quick, easy actions that improve your financial life, plus 10 new added bonus ideas that came directly from our community. We issue a challenge for you to tackle one action per week for the first 26 weeks (six months) of the year, so you’ll build stronger financial health by summertime. Download the free book that accompanies this episode at and join us in the 2020 One Tweak a Week challenge!
December 31, 2019
#233: Deepak is considering downsizing his family’s home, but wants to know if the savings are worth the transaction costs he’ll have to pay. Anonymous and her husband hold $900,000 worth of privately-owned company stock. How should they plan for handling this money? Shelby is 25 years old and works for a company that awarded her restricted stock units. What should she do with these? Additionally, she traded in a 2013 Prius for a 2018 Subaru, for which she now owes $19,000. Should she sell it for a used vehicle or stick it out? Katelyn is interested in learning more about annuities. What should she know in order to make an informed decision? Max FI and his wife want to retire in 12 years. How should they invest to achieve this? Anonymous’s former employer offered a Roth and Traditional 401k, and his new employer only offers a Traditional option. How should he rollover his former Roth 401k? For more information, visit the show notes at
December 27, 2019
Anthony ONeal is the bestselling author of Debt-Free Degree, a book that teaches parents how to help their children graduate from college without student loans. He’s part of the Dave Ramsey Solutions team, which teaches people how to pay off and avoid debt, and he's the co-author of Graduate Survival Guide, along with Rachel Cruze. Anthony joins us on this episode to share tips and hacks to help you save on tuition and find money for college.
December 16, 2019
#231: Avie needs to decide between two options: paying off a rental property, or funding a retirement account. Which should she choose? Lisa wants to know: when should you fund an HSA account? Sofia’s parents have lived with her for the past few years, but Sofia’s job is relocating her out-of-state. How can she transition her home to a rental for her parents? Jim is a saver and his wife is a spender. How can he interest her in frugality? Candice wants to know my thoughts about online real estate investment crowdfunding platforms. Good idea or bad idea? Kristen has a mortgage on her primary residence and a rental property. They have similar interest rates. Which should she pay off first? I tackle these questions on today’s episode. Enjoy! For more information, visit the show notes at 
December 9, 2019
#230: Dr. Susan David, a psychologist on the faculty at Harvard Medical School, joins us to talk about emotional agility. Dr. David has researched emotional agility for around 20 years. A few years ago, she summarized her work on this concept for the Harvard Business Review. Her article became one of the most popular articles of the year, and the publishers heralded it as the Management Idea of the Year. Dr. David gave a TED talk on emotional agility, which went viral, gaining more than a million views. She then published a book called Emotional Agility which became a #1 Wall Street Journal Best Seller. The concept of emotional agility won the Thinkers50 Breakthrough Idea Award. She’s provided consulting around this concept with clients that include the United Nations, the World Economic Forum, the NASDAQ, Google, and Microsoft. She joins us today to explain how to define emotional agility, how to develop it in your life, and how it applies to any goal that you want to pursue - whether that’s financial independence, early retirement, career advancement, or greater success in your health and your relationships. For more information, visit the show notes at
December 6, 2019
#229: Normally, we’re a once-a-week podcast, with episodes airing every Monday. But on the first Friday of every month, we have a First Friday bonus episode! Helen discovered that her mother fraudulently opened credit card accounts in her name. Eek! How can she protect herself? What will happen to these accounts once her mother passes away? Amelia and her husband cannot fire their financial advisor. How can they minimize the damage and maximize the benefit they receive from him in the meantime? Anonymous asks if she should live off an inheritance and max out her 401k contributions during her first year of working full-time. She wants to reduce her taxable income. Is this a good idea? A different anonymous caller read a USA Today article claiming that “index funds are in a bubble.” How true is this? How can index funds be in a bubble? Shawn is self-employed. He invests in a Solo 401k that features both a Roth and Traditional component. How should he manage this account? Another anonymous listener is thinking about downshifting to part-time work. He holds around $278,000 in home equity. How can he capitalize on this? Former financial planner Joe Saul-Sehy and I answer these questions on today’s episode. Enjoy! For more information, visit the show notes at
December 2, 2019
In November 2005, when Noah Kagan was 24, he was hired as Employee #30 at Facebook. His stock options would have been worth $170 million if he’d cashed out in 2014, he says. But he didn’t see a dime. In June 2006, merely 9 months after he started working at Facebook, Noah got fired. Instead of making $170 million, he made zero. He fell into a deep depression for a year. Then he rescued himself by becoming a serial entrepreneur. He tried his hand at a lot of things -- including developing Facebook games, selling discount cards, creating a payment processor in the gaming space -- but he’s best known for his two most successful companies. In 2010 he started a company, AppSumo, which offers discounts on small business software. By 2012, AppSumo was grossing $4 million per year in revenue, with annual net profits of $500,000. Yet Noah wasn’t fulfilled. He pivoted. In 2015 he started a sister company,, which develops marketing tools for websites and online businesses. In today’s episode, Noah and I discuss reflections on business, money and life. Enjoy! For more information, visit the show notes at
November 25, 2019
Lien is taking a year off of work to live the van life with her husband. She wants to know how she can make the most of this sabbatical to figure out how to turn her less-than-inspiring career into a lifestyle that she loves. Lien called in again to say that she wants to start a new business and a family when she returns from her gap year. Her former job offered excellent health benefits and maternity leave, but she doesn’t really want to go back. What should she do? Eddie wants to build his real estate portfolio. How should he approach downpayments - put down more to net more profit, or put down less to acquire more properties? Wilson is wondering if it’s a good idea to partner with a friend on real estate ventures. What are the downsides? Wilson also wants to know about real estate business expenses, and the pros and cons of short-term rentals vs. long-term rentals. Sean has an inconsistent employment history and is struggling to find a lender that will give him a mortgage. He wants to know if there are any other ways he can get a mortgage for a 4-plex? An anonymous listener is thinking about taking the leap into real estate investing and wants to know how to overcome the fear they have about it. Also, should they put all of their savings towards real estate? Anonymous is also wondering: how do you calculate net worth when you’re married? For more information, visit the show notes at
November 18, 2019
#226: Feeling time-crunched? Today’s episode is for you. Today’s episode features productivity expert John Zeratsky, who shares specific, action-packed time management strategies, with a focus on email management. If the term inbox zero sounds laughable, these strategies are up your alley. John’s interest in productivity began one winter morning in 2008, when he realized that the past few months had been an eerie blur. He realized that time was slipping away. He knew he needed to figure out a better way to manage his time - and his life. He started deep-diving into time management strategies and eventually co-authored a book, Make Time. If you want to learn how to redesign your daily schedule, you’ll enjoy this episode. For more information, visit the show notes at
November 11, 2019
#225: Lauren is 26 and earns $48,000 per year after taxes. She saves $12,000 annually in retirement accounts, and an additional $18,000 per year for a downpayment on a home. She wants to buy a home in the next five years. Where should she keep her savings in the meantime? Sawyer has a five-year financial independence plan. She owns two high-end condos in a NYC suburb. She lives in one unit and rents the other, but she’s bothered by the fact that she’s forgoing collecting rent on her home unit. Should she move? Katie’s husband is going to grad school and they want to pull money out of a Vanguard account to fund his tuition. Should they do this? Cassie is in the process of finalizing a divorce. She and her daughter will receive between $80,000 - $116,000. Should they use the funds to buy a home with a 20 percent down payment or pay off their $30,000 debt? Andy is curious: should you re-adjust the 4 percent withdrawal rule if your investment portfolio grows? Joe wants to become self-employed but is concerned about health insurance. What are some affordable options? Laura is ready to retire. She’s also engaged, and her fiance wants to keep working. Should they file taxes jointly or separately? Doug is interested in learning more about equity sharing programs. Are these safe investments? Tania wants to know: can you open and fund a Roth IRA if your only source of income is alimony? Brian took out a 401k loan to buy a car. He regrets his decision. Should he take out a personal loan to pay back the 401k loan? Former financial planner Joe Saul-Sehy and I answer these questions in today’s episode. Enjoy! For more information, visit the show notes at
November 4, 2019
#224: Scott Young, author of Wall Street Journal best-selling book Ultralearning, talks about the 9 principles of Ultralearning, which can help you learn new skills, reinvent yourself, stay relevant, and adapt to whatever life throws at you. If you think you know the best way to learn something, think again. This book will challenge your assumptions. Whether you want to develop hard skills to become more valuable at your job, soft skills for your journey to self-improvement, or you want to honor your love for learning, these 9 principles will help you become more effective at developing new skills. If you enjoyed my interviews with James Clear or Cal Newport, you’ll enjoy this one. For more information, visit the show notes at 
November 1, 2019
#223: Elizabeth is curious to know: what does a good net worth breakdown look like? Is it appropriate to have a lot of your net worth tied up in real estate? Marie wants to start her own business, but she’s living paycheck-to-paycheck. Is incurring debt her only option to make this dream a reality? Bria wants to take a second mini-retirement and has a good chunk of money saved up. She wants to come back to the workforce with a cash cushion. What should she do with her money while traveling? Connor is facing a dilemma. Is he correct in not prioritizing 401k contributions given that his employer doesn’t offer a match, combined with his goal for financial independence? Is his strategy of using his savings for real estate investing better? Caroline is wondering: should she aggressively pay off her home and her rental properties, or use her excess savings to fund a brokerage account? Anonymous is relocating from Southern California to Florida. She wants to know if she should rent an apartment and buy a rental property, or buy a primary residence with the $150,000 she has saved. Today’s episode is full of exploring and weighing tradeoffs. For more information, visit the show notes at
October 28, 2019
#222: Michael Robinson and his wife, Ellen, achieved financial independence at age 33. They ‘retired’ (they still enjoy working) three years later at age 36 on two five-figure incomes. Today, Michael and Ellen are raising their two children to be bilingual by slow traveling throughout Latin America. Michael and Ellen blog about their FIRE adventures at They believe that “the Uncommon Dream is the dream pursued – the dream met with planning, action, and sacrifice. With just a dream and those three tools, you can accomplish almost anything.” Today, Michael joins us on the show to talk about the seven ways that he and Ellen escaped the rat race and achieved FI at 33. If you enjoy hearing stories and case studies from people in this community who have reached FI, then you’ll love this interview. For the full show notes, go here:
October 21, 2019
#221: Vanessa is curious about Fidelity and Vanguard. She asks: what are your thoughts on the no-fee Fidelity index funds? What are your opinions on Vanguard’s financial advisors? Andy wants to know: should my wife and I continue maxing out our traditional 401k and backdoor Roth IRA, or should we start contributing to the Roth 401k my employer offers? Kyle is wondering - how can he minimize his taxes when he earns $450,000/year? Rob is self-employed and has been maxing out a Roth IRA, but recently discovered that he can open a self-employed IRA. Should he move his Roth IRA money over, or just open a new account and fund it from scratch? Christina is torn. Her and her husband have been saving to buy a house, but because they live in New York, their savings won’t go very far. Is it a good idea for them to continue renting, despite their dreams? Mercedes is wondering how REITs compare to stocks and owning actual real estate. Additionally, she’d like to know more about Forex trading. Craig has an employee stock purchase plan (ESPP). Since these tend to be risky, he’s wondering: is he better off moving the $25,000 that he puts towards the ESPP into mutual funds? Or is an ESPP a good way to diversify his funds? Myself and former financial planner, Joe Saul-Sehy, answer these questions in today’s episode. Enjoy! For more information, visit the show notes at
October 14, 2019
In a hectic world, stillness is the key to a calm, enjoyable life. That idea comes from Ryan Holiday, author of Stillness is The Key. Stillness is finding flow, staying present, and being impervious to the pressures of the outside world. It doesn’t mean removing yourself from society and sitting in a forest; to the contrary, many CEOs and world leaders have practiced remarkable stillness during times of crisis. Bestselling author Ryan Holiday discusses actionable tips on how to practice the art of stillness, as well as its applications to the pursuit of financial independence or any massive goal. For more information, visit the show notes at
October 7, 2019
#219: Stella is working toward FIRE and wants to know: how can she create passive income in her retirement years? Is a portfolio with stocks and bonds enough, or should she invest in real estate? Travis and his wife are also on the FIRE path, and are comparing their investment options. Travis is concerned about the inefficiency of reinvesting returns in real estate. How can you factor this into your decision when buying a property? Stephanie and her husband are also interested in FIRE (hooray!) and they have $20,000 to invest. How can they best use this money to help them FIRE sooner? Cade, a 24-year-old listener, wants to FIRE by age 30 (we’re on a roll!). He’s saving $4,000/month and wants to know how to invest these savings. Anonymous and their partner are taking a mini-retirement and have questions surrounding the logistics of healthcare. What options should they consider? On a different note, Amanda works in academia. After listening to Episode 12, she’s looking for tips on managing long-term, complex collaborative projects now that she’s in a leadership position. Steve’s question brings us to the topic of building an online business and social media following. Should he have one brand for all of his interests, or divide these interests into separate channels? I tackle these questions in today’s episode of the show. Enjoy! For more information, visit the show notes at
October 4, 2019
Kristen Berman is co-founder of Irrational Labs, a behavioral product design company, along with Dan Ariely. She has a fascinating job that involves looking into why people behave the way they do with their money, and discovering the easiest solution to help them create more positive financial behavior. In short, she’s a proponent of redesigning the current financial system to make saving automatic and easy, and that’s part of what we discuss in this episode. If creating better financial habits has been a challenge for you, or if you have trouble framing spending as a positive thing, rather than a loss, then Kristen has awesome advice for you. Here are some key takeaways from the interview: 1. Habits are overrated - one-time decisions are more effective. 2. Simplify decision-making by giving yourself a rule-of-thumb to follow. 3. Pre-commit to your financial goals. 4. Measure process versus outcome. 5. Use accountability partners to reach your goals. 6. The Three Bs - Behavior, Barriers, and Benefits. For more information, visit the show notes at
September 30, 2019
#217: It’s September! If you’ve been listening to the show for the past few months, then you know that I’m on what I’ve dubbed my September Sabbatical, in which I’m taking a break from podcast production and traveling the globe. In light of that, we’re digging through the archives and airing some of my favorite interviews on the show, in between airing interviews I’ve done on other podcasts. Earlier this year, Cody and Justin from The FI Show interviewed me and asked some excellent questions about my journey to financial independence, entrepreneurship and passion, and minding the gap between your income and expenses. We talk about the importance of side hustling and how to create a well-paying job from your skills. We touch on real estate and why I chose this strategy to reach FI. We also discuss the bone I have to pick with the financial independence movement. Finally, we chat about what financial independence is really about, because it’s not about sipping margaritas on a beach. It’s about having the freedom to use your time in whatever way you want. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! Thank you to Cody and Justin for giving us permission to air this interview. P.S. - Starting with the next episode, we’ll return to our usual routine of brand new interviews and Ask Paula episodes. :) For more information, visit the show notes at
September 23, 2019
#216: It’s September! If you’ve been listening to the show for the past few months, then you know that I’m on what I’ve dubbed my September Sabbatical, in which I’m taking a break from podcast production and traveling the globe. In light of that, we’re digging through the archives and airing some of my favorite interviews on the show, in between airing interviews I’ve done on other podcasts.  Welcome to another episode from our archives! This one was recorded in March 2018, and Dr. Wade Pfau had a ton of insight into the four percent rule that so many of us are concerned with. First, here’s a brief history of how the four percent rule came to be.  In 1994, William Bengen decided to look at 30-year timespans throughout U.S. History, beginning with the year 1926.  He worked under the assumption that a retiree held 50 percent stocks (in the form of S&P 500 Index), and 50 percent bonds (intermediate-term government bonds).  He looked at two things: the worst-case scenario, and how much an investor could sustainably withdraw from their portfolio under that worst-case scenario.  The year 1966 ended up being one of the worst to retire during, and an investor could withdraw 4.15 percent during the first year, and 4.15 percent, adjusted for inflation, every subsequent year.  That is how the 4 percent rule came to be.  Dr. Wade Pfau, a Professor of Retirement Income at The American College of Financial Services, argues that the 4 percent rule may not be the end-all-be-all we think it is. He voices his hesitations and explains how you can determine how much you can afford to spend in retirement on this episode.  Enjoy! P.S. - We’ll return to our regular podcast production schedule in October!  For more information, visit the show notes at 
September 16, 2019
#215: We are really digging into the archives with today's episode. This originally aired back in 2016! Besides being another fun and fascinating interview, this is one of our most popular episodes. Which isn't surprising, given the topic we're exploring. :-) Financial independence means many things to many different people, which might be why we find it challenging to settle on a definition that everyone can agree on. Regardless of what your personal definition is, Joshua Sheats, a financial planner and host of the well-known Radical Personal Finance podcast, says that financial independence can be separated into seven stages. We explore these seven stages of FI in this episode, and we also talk about how to enjoy the journey no matter what stage you're at. Enjoy! For details, visit the show notes at
September 9, 2019
It’s September! If you’ve been listening to the show for the past few months, then you know that I’m on what I’ve dubbed my September Sabbatical, in which I’m taking a break from podcast production and traveling the globe. In light of that, we’re digging through the archives and airing some of my favorite interviews on the show, in between airing interviews I’ve done on other podcasts. I’m super excited to share an interview I did with Brad and Jonathan of ChooseFI back in December 2018. It was fun to have the tables turned, and Brad and Jonathan left no stone unturned in their interview with me. If you ever wanted to know my origin story, including where my love for travel comes from, where my desire for freedom came from, and how I combined both, then give this interview a listen. We talk about everything from: How travel wasn’t a big part of my life until college How I prefer to travel Why the idea of mini-retirements is so important Making the transition from freelancing to having my own business and giving up that business in favor of focusing on Afford Anything Dealing with imposter syndrome Overcoming and working with a scarcity mindset What financial independence means to me The importance of self-care Brad and Jonathan are two of the most thorough interviewers I’ve ever recorded with, and this interview was a lot of fun. If you want to learn more about them, I returned the favor by interviewing them on this show on this episode [URL]. Thanks to Brad and Jonathan and ChooseFI for giving us permission to air this interview! P.S. - We’ll return to our regular podcast production schedule in October! For more information, visit the show notes at
September 6, 2019
It’s September! If you’ve been listening to the show for the past few months, then you know that I’m on what I’ve dubbed my September Sabbatical, in which I’m taking a break from podcast production and traveling the globe. In light of that, we’re digging through the archives and airing some of my favorite interviews on the show, in between airing interviews I’ve done on other podcasts. If you missed the last episode, you might want to listen to it before diving into this one, as Andrew and I go into the finer points of investing here. Seriously. This is one of the most in-the-weeds shows I’ve done to date. If you’re playing catch up: Andrew Hallam is a teacher who became a millionaire in his 30s and reached FIRE in his 40s. His starting salary was $28,000 - net. If you want to know how he did it, and what his first three rules of building wealth are, then listen to episode 212. Otherwise, tune into this episode, where we review his six other rules that can turn middle-class people into millionaires: Understand your inner psychology. Conquer the enemy in the mirror. Learn how to build a balanced, responsible portfolio. Create an indexed account, no matter where you live. Don’t resign yourself to taking this journey alone. Inoculate yourself against slick sales rhetoric. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.a While these rules sound simple on the surface, Andrew and I go way beyond that, talking about hedge funds, human psychology, and casinos. This was a favorite among listeners back in 2017 and it’s one of the most enjoyable interviews I did. I hope you enjoy! P.S. - We’ll return to our regular podcast production schedule in October! For more information, visit the show notes at 
September 2, 2019
It’s September!! If you’ve been listening to the show for the past few months, then you know that I’m on what I’ve dubbed my September Sabbatical, in which I’m taking a break from podcast production and traveling the globe. In light of that, we’re digging through the archives and airing some of my favorite interviews on the show, in between airing interviews I’ve done on other podcasts. First up is a two-part interview with Andrew Hallam, a teacher who became a millionaire in his 30s and reached FI in his 40s. How? Beyond investing small sums (we’re talking less than $100 per month) throughout college, he also saved half of his starting salary of $28,000. This episode is for anyone who thinks it’s impossible to reach FIRE on a low salary. I originally interviewed Andrew in January 2017, and we could not stop talking. Which is why our three-hour interview was divided into two parts. In this first part, Andrew shares his story - how he became a millionaire, and why he wanted to achieve FIRE in the first place. He also shares three principles from his book, Millionaire Teacher: Nine Rules of Wealth You Should Have Learned in School: Rule 1: Spend like you want to grow rich. (Don’t waste money on junk.) Rule 2: Use the greatest financial ally you have. (Time.) Rule 3: Small percentages pack big punches. (Avoid high-fee funds.) As for the other six, they’re coming up in Part 2. :) Enjoy! P.S. - We’ll return to our regular podcast production schedule in October!   For more information, visit the show notes at
August 26, 2019
Hey there! I’m writing this from Croatia, where I’m beginning five weeks of travel that I’m calling my September Sabbatical. From now through September 23rd, I’ll be exploring the globe and enjoying a one-month break. Today, I’m kicking things off with a community-based episode. Here’s the backstory behind today’s show: There’s an event called CampFI, which is a 3-4 day gathering for people who are interested in financial independence. CampFI holds around half a dozen events per year in various locations; I spoke at one in Colorado Springs this past July. While I was there, two other podcasters and I decided to interview the participants to find out their “why of FI.” What motivates them to build financial independence? These interviews and stories from the community are today’s episode. Enjoy! For more information, visit the show notes at
August 19, 2019
#210: We live in a fascinating era: huge sections of society are more prosperous, advanced and safe than at any other point in human history, yet depression and anxiety are at record highs. It’s a paradox of progress: the richer the nation, the more likely its citizens are to suffer from mental health issues and report feeling crushing isolation and unhappiness. What gives? At the individual level, pursuing financial independence and early retirement (FIRE) often fills people with enthusiasm, purpose and meaning. Yet once people reach FIRE, they often report feeling purposeless or rudderless. It’s a paradox of hope: nothing kills a dream like achieving it. And in the absence of anything else for which to hope, a person becomes, by definition, hopeless. Ouch. When we’ve taken care of the bottom of the Maslow Pyramid, how do we find hope and meaning? How can we create purpose in a vast world? This week, I invited one of my favorite writers, megabestselling author Mark Manson, to join me on the Afford Anything podcast to discuss these critical issues. Mark Manson is the author of The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck, which sold six million copies and became the #1 bestseller in 13 countries. His latest book, Everything is F*cked: A Book About Hope, lays a framework for finding hope and happiness in a confusing world. For more information, visit the show notes at
August 12, 2019
#209: Anonymous wants to retire early and often. They’re going overseas, where they’ll make their annual salary within six months. Where should they put their extra income? Anonymous also wants to know: how can they find a financial advisor they can actually trust? Another anonymous listener wants to know - is it possible to spend more while minimizing taxes in early retirement? JuanCarlos asks: is $20,000 too little to invest with a financial advisor? Angela is wondering how to create a Roth IRA account for a teenager. Rose is thinking about switching from mutual funds to index funds because it means encountering less fees, but her and her husband are in their 60s. Does this make sense? Ari has $700,000 to invest in a taxable brokerage account. He wants to know if a 90 percent total stock market index and 10 percent bonds is a good asset allocation. Dave and his wife want to use their defined benefit plans as their primary income stream in retirement, and supplement with Roth and 457 incomes. Where else should they be saving? Myself and former financial planner Joe Saul-Sehy answer these questions on today’s episode. Enjoy! For more information, visit the show notes at
August 9, 2019
#208: Well, this could get awkward. Your parents and grandparents are aging. (Duh.) You want to have a few important financial conversations with them. It’s time to get the answers to questions like: “So … are you ready for retirement?” “You’ve been retired for 10 years … how’s that going? How are your finances looking?” “Do you have a will or legal trust? What’s your estate plan situation?” “Do you have an advance health care directive?” “To whom have you given your power of attorney?” “What types of accounts do you have, and how can I -- or someone whom you designate --  access the passwords if and when the appropriate time comes?” These financial conversations are important, but awkward. Most people would rather discuss the news, the weather, or the Kardashians.  How do you introduce these conversations to your family? What specific topics should you cover? What documents and other information should you gather? How do you manage these conversations when siblings, half-siblings and step-siblings are involved? What about step-parents? What if your parent lives outside of the U.S. and the laws are different; how should you plan? In today’s podcast episode, award-winning personal finance journalist Cameron Huddleston discusses these critical issues.  Huddleston has spent nearly two decades writing about money for Kiplinger Personal Finance, the Chicago Tribune, Fortune, USA Today, MSN and more. She’s the author of Mom and Dad, We Need to Talk: How to Have Essential Conversations with Your Parents About Their Finances.  She joins us to discuss how to navigate these tricky family conversations. For more information, visit the show notes at
August 5, 2019
#207: Matt and his fiance earn $7,500 per month combined. They save more than half of their income. He’d like to take a different job that will decrease his income by $2,000 per month, but improve his quality of life. Should he? Suja wants to take out a loan for business growth. What red flags should she watch for? Anonymous and her husband are thinking about buying half-million-dollar home, purchasing a second car, and having a baby. They’ve saved an emergency fund and a 20 percent downpayment. Are they ready? Trayci wants to quit her 9-to-5 and start working as a 1099 self-employed lifestyle. How should she manage this transition? Daria is curious about the economics of a podcast. What do the income and expenses look like? Jared wants to retire early and then sell off his rental properties, but he’s worried about the depreciation recapture tax rate. How should he plan? Ali wants to set up a long-term giving plan, but most of the advice out there is geared towards wealthy donors. How should middle-class workers set up their charitable giving? Financial planner Sophia Bera (hailed by Investment News as one of the Top 40 Under 40) joins me on today’s episode to answer these seven questions. For more information, visit the show notes at 
July 29, 2019
#206: We live in a society that values career specialization. You’re not a “doctor” -- you’re a pediatrician, an anesthesiologist, an oncologist. You’re not a “lawyer” -- you practice family law, or bankruptcy, or criminal law. You’re not an “engineer” -- you’re an electrical engineer who specializes in solar technologies, or a civil engineer who specializes in the application of artificial intelligence in highway traffic design. Specialization is beneficial and necessary, but specializing too early in life or too narrowly can also have drawbacks. According to today’s podcast guest, New York Times bestselling author David Epstein, overspecialization can stifle innovation if we’re all digging in parallel trenches. Sampling a broad range of subjects prior to specializing (e.g. at the undergraduate level, or as a hobby) allows people to make connections between far-flung domains and ideas. If you’re an athlete, spend your childhood playing a variety of sports before you commit to the one you’d like to develop. If you’re a musician, try learning different instruments before you pick your primary focus. If you’re bound for a graduate degree in a STEM field, consider a multidisciplinary undergraduate that pulls from chemistry, physics, biology and perhaps even art. Specialization can come later. We hear stories of people who specialized early in life. Tiger Woods won his first golf competition at age two, beating everyone in the age-10-and-under category. Many world chess champions started training in early childhood. The notion is that early specialization provides a headstart; if you haven’t started training at chess or golf by age 12, it might be too late. But chess and golf are limited in their scope. They’re contained games with fixed, predictable rules. In the wider world, in which challenges and assumptions fluctuate and problems are ill-defined, being a generalist is a lifehack. For more information, visit the show notes at
July 22, 2019
#205: Is it ever a good idea to use your 401(k) as an emergency fund? What's the best way to break up with your financial advisor so that you can move all of your funds to Vanguard? Should you put all of your Roth IRA money into index funds, or is there a better option for your money? A listener has a job offer working less hours for more money, but without a retirement plan. Is this a good move? When running a small business as a sole proprietor, are there tax advantages to incorporating or forming an LLC? If so, what should you consider? What's the best way to maximize the earnings on a large amount of savings while keeping the savings liquid? Can a robo-advisor help with this? Myself and former financial planner Joe Saul-Sehy tackle these six questions in today's episode. Enjoy! For more information, visit the show notes at
July 15, 2019
#204: You make decisions on a daily basis about your career, family, friendships, health and investments; these choices shape your life. But how much have you thought about how to think? There are common threads and collective wisdom across disciplines. These common threads create mental models, which are frameworks for understanding the world. Mental models allow us to apply insights from a variety of unrelated fields, using reasoning by analogy to make better choices about our lives. For example: Critical mass is a concept from physics that can be applied to our understanding of microeconomics or entrepreneurship. The availability heuristic and filter bubble are concepts that we can use to check in with ourselves whenever we’re assessing risk in our businesses, careers or personal safety. Loss aversion and information aversion are notions that, when articulated, allow us to understand why we hesitate to learn more about investing during recessions. Mental models can make us better thinkers. Warren Buffett’s business partner, Charlie Munger, says he relies on mental models to evaluate businesses and make investing choices. What we know is that we’ll never be right. But mental models can help us become less wrong. On today’s episode, Gabriel Weinberg and Lauren McCann join us to discuss Super Thinking, their book about how to use mental models to improve the skill of thinking. Enjoy! For more information, visit the show notes at 
July 8, 2019
#203: Many people in their 50’s or 60’s warn us about catastrophic or ‘black swan’ events. But what’s the likelihood that this will actually happen? How can you use the 4 percent withdrawal rule for early retirement planning, given that your portfolio will be split among accounts with different tax treatments? How do you adjust your retirement plan for future taxes? Should a couple in their 30’s switch from term life to whole life insurance? Should a couple in their 50’s with adult children bother buying life insurance in the first place? Is it okay to keep all your assets at one investment brokerage, like Vanguard or Fidelity? And can you deduct rental losses if your income is over $150,000? Former financial planner Joe Saul-Sehy and I answer these questions in today’s episode. For more information, visit the show notes at
July 5, 2019
#202: In 2006, Matt Kepnes worked at a hospital in Boston, and he felt miserable. He dreaded fighting traffic, spending his days under his offices’ fluorescent lighting, drinking stale coffee. He decided to take one year off -- a “gap year” -- thinking that after his sabbatical, he’d resume another 40 years of punching the clock. He worked 60-hour weeks in order to save money for his sabbatical year. He saved $30,000, then handed his boss a resignation letter. Matt traveled for 18 months, returned to Boston, and realized he had lost his willingness to punch the clock. He couldn’t sit still in an office any longer. He re-packed his bags, bought a one-way flight to who-knows-where, and reinvented himself as a travel writer known as Nomadic Matt. He lives on a budget of $18,250 per year, or $50 per day. In the last decade, his travel information website,, has become one of the most popular travel blogs in the world, drawing millions of visitors. His writing has been featured in The New York Times, CNN, National Geographic Travel, and the BBC. He’s a New York Times bestselling author, and he’s traveled to more than 100 countries. In today’s episode, Matt and I discuss the art of slow travel. For more information, visit the show notes at
July 1, 2019
#201: Ross and his wife are both in the Navy. They bought a home while they were stationed in Hawaii. Then the Navy sent them to Virginia, where they currently live; they’ve purchased a home there, too. They kept the Hawaii home as a rental property, and they’d like to move back into it when they retire. Which home should they repay first? Mike is 33, debt-free except for his mortgage, and earns more than $200,000 per year. He saves half of his income. What should he do with his savings? Pay off his mortgage? Invest? Josh has a nervous habit of checking his investment account balances daily. How can he break this habit? Amanda and her husband live in a duplex. They have $115,000 in equity in their home, and another $115,000 remaining on the mortgage. They’d like to move. Should they hold the duplex as a rental? Or should they sell and use the proceeds to buy a cheaper home, with a goal of being mortgage-free? Christy wants to know how to compete with other aggressive real estate investors who are bidding on homes. I answer these five questions in today’s episode. Enjoy! For more information, visit the show notes at
June 24, 2019
#200: Nine years ago, I had no idea that personal finance blogs existed. Then, as I was flipping through an issue of Kiplinger magazine, I came across an article about a woman who paid off $70,000 in debt in 16 months. Her name was Jaime, she lived in Maine, and she earned 3x her husband’s income. He made $30,000 per year; she made $100,000. They wanted to have a baby, and she wanted to stay at home for the first year, but their debt load made this impossible. She aggressively went into debt-crushing-mode, working 70 hour weeks while 7 months pregnant in order to tackle their debt. She started a blog (and later a podcast), Eventual Millionaire, to track her journey and interview millionaires. This article made me aware of the existence of personal finance blogs. I immediately thought, “I want one.” The following year, I started my own site, Afford Anything. Like Eventual Millionaire, it later became a podcast, as well. Today, we’re celebrating Episode 200 of the Afford Anything podcast. And so it feels fitting that the special guest for Episode 200 should be the woman whose story inspired the creation of this platform, Jaime Masters.   For more information, visit the show notes at 
June 17, 2019
#199: Ashley is paying affordable rent for a home she enjoys, but she feels certain that the real estate market in her local market will stay strong. She’s thinking about buying a home with 3 to 5 percent down, but she doesn’t have much in savings. Should she wait for a year to save more? Or should she take advantage of a rising market and relatively low interest rates? Ian and his girlfriend live together in Washington D.C. and have a combined 40 percent savings rate. He’d like to buy a rental property, but his girlfriend has $18,000 in student loans and is about to re-enroll in school. Should they buy an investment home, or use their cash to repay her loans and cash flow her new academic program? Annette is about to travel to Spain with her family. How can she plan an affordable and high-value international trip? William is concerned about losing his job. What if he can’t pay his bills, especially his new mortgage? How can he protect himself? Anonymous is a renter, and she often encounters surprise fees and charges when she arrives at the lease signing. Can she negotiate with her landlord? I answer these five questions in today’s episode, and I also feature a short interview with special guest J. Money, my former podcast co-host from the early days!! Enjoy! For more information, visit the show notes at 
June 10, 2019
#198: Money flows. When you receive money, you’re in the path of this flow. Money flows from someone else to you, and eventually, it’ll flow from you to someone else, either in the form of a purchase or an investment. A healthy relationship with money is to feel gratitude when money flows towards you, and to release your money without attachment or resentment when it flows away from you. Today's guest, Ken Honda, is known as the “Zen Millionaire” of Japan. He’s sold more than seven million books in Japan about the intersection between wealth and happiness. In today’s podcast episode, we discuss four core principles for developing a healthy emotional relationship with money. For more information, visit the show notes at 
June 7, 2019
#197: Should Bret invest in a Traditional IRA or a Roth IRA? If Amanda gets married, how will her child support be affected? What about her student loan forgiveness? Joe is investing in bonds, which average a rate of return that’s equal to the interest rate on his mortgage. Should he switch to all-equities and redirect his bond investments into mortgage payoff, instead? Taunia has a car loan, a 401k loan, a home improvement loan, a primary mortgage, and a second mortgage. She also has an emergency fund that only covers two months of expenses, and she’s trying to save for college for her two children. What should she prioritize? Mickey has a six-month emergency fund. Should he leave it in a savings account or invest in bond ladders? David made $10,000 from a side hustle last year. Can he open a Solo 401k or SEP-IRA for his side hustle business? If so, which one should he choose? Should Andy invest in a Target Retirement Date fund, or should he split his money between a U.S. index fund and an international index fund? Former financial planner Joe Saul-Sehy and I answer these seven questions in today’s episode. For more information, visit the show notes at 
June 3, 2019
#196: When Wendy Mays was in her early 20’s, she earned $12 an hour working as the office manager of a pest control company. She wanted higher income, so she enrolled in college at age 22. By the time she finished her undergraduate degree, she was 26, married, with a child. Her husband worked low-paying jobs to make ends meet. They struggled to pay the bills. Wendy decided to enroll in law school, so that she could bring in more money. She graduated around age 30, and became the primary breadwinner for the household. She opened her own law practice. The couple starting bringing in a combined household income of around $200,000 annually. They bought a large house, with a swimming pool. Sounds like the American Dream, right? Except it was all financed. By age 38, Wendy and her husband accrued nearly $800,000 in debt. Around $480,000 came in the form of mortgage debt. Another $20,000 comprised of vehicle loans. The other $300,000 came in the form of student loans. They lived paycheck-to-paycheck. They decided to expand their family through adoption. Rather quickly, Wendy and her husband had six children. They realized they needed to repay their debt in order to give their family a more stable home life. At age 38, Wendy and her husband committed to repaying their debt, building their retirement accounts, and getting themselves onto a smart financial track. How did they re-start their financial life at age 38, with six children and $800,000 in debt? Find out in today’s episode. For more information, visit the show notes at 
May 27, 2019
#195: Alex makes $168,000 per year, combined between her full-time job and her side hustle. Her company pays for breakfast, lunch and dinner during the work week, plus a cell phone subsidy, health, dental and vision insurance, a gym membership, and commuting costs. She also househacks, so her living expenses are only $400 per month. What should she do with her ample savings? Christine is 38 and earns $70,000 per year running her own business. She holds $70,000 in investment accounts, has another $16,000 in savings, bought a condo with 20 percent down, and has no debt. What can she do to fast-track her path to financial independence? Amy is unsure whether she should pay off her mortgage, downsize to a smaller home, or invest. Katherine is 23 and househacking into a duplex. How much should she set aside for cash reserves? Miriam started a podcast and wants to know how to morph a passion into a lucrative income stream. Nick wonders if the FIRE movement should plan an annual gathering … you know, like a FIRE Festival. (But not like the Fyre Festival.) I tackle these six questions in today’s episode. For more information, visit the show notes at 
May 20, 2019
#194: Fear shows up in our lives in countless ways. Sometimes, fear takes the form of procrastination. We're afraid of botching something, or we don't like the feeling of anxiety that a project gives us, so we avoid it, dodge it, and indefinitely put it off. Other times, fear takes the form of perfectionism through endless iterating and tweaking. We want to keep tinkering with a project, to get it "just right." We applaud ourselves for our attention to detail. Fear takes the form of making excuses and rationalizations for why we can't pursue a goal or dream. We tell ourselves that some outside factor is to blame. Fear takes the form of throwing ourselves pity parties and locking ourselves into a negative self-talk spiral. We get easily discouraged. Fear takes the form of thinking others can't be trusted, and pushing people away. Fear has many faces. Today's podcast guest, Ruth Soukup, surveyed 4,000 people to find out how fear manifests in their lives. She joins us on this episode to discuss the seven fear archetypes that she discovered. Those archetypes are: The People Pleaser: This is the fear of disapproval and fear of not being liked, expressed in the form of weak boundaries and putting others needs first to a self-harming extent. The Procrastinator: This is the fear of making a mistakes. This shows up as over-planning to the point of "analysis paralysis," of spending all your time researching and none of your time taking action. Perfectionism is an overlapping quality, as well. The Rule Follower: This is a fear of authority. This person is afraid of breaking the rules or doing something in a way in which it's not 'supposed' to be done. The Outcast: This is the fear of rejection, which often -- ironically -- causes this person to reject others first so that they cannot get rejected. They're highly self-motivated and driven to succeed and feel the need to prove themselves, but they have trouble collaborating and working in groups. The Self-Doubter: This is the fear of inadequacy, of not being good enough, which causes the self-doubter to forgo opportunities, play it safe, and not take risks. They can also be highly critical of others. The Excuse Maker: This is the fear of taking responsibility or being blamed, which shows up in the form of always having a justification as to why this person can't pursue a goal, or why an outcome isn't their fault. The Pessimist: This is the fear of pain or adversity, often held by people who have been through an immense amount of pain or trauma. The pessimist gets locked into patterns of negative self-talk and self-pity, and believes that they have it worst than most. They can be sensitive to criticism, feel emotion intensely, and has trouble moving beyond the challenges from their past. In today's episode, Ruth and I discuss these seven fear archetypes and cover specific action plans that people can take if they recognize these tendencies within themselves. For more information, visit the show notes at 
May 13, 2019
#193: Lori is behind on retirement savings, as a result of being a full-time student for more than a decade. She makes good money and lives frugally, but she’s aware that she’s behind for her age. What should she do? Sierra wonders whether she should apply her savings towards paying off her mortgage or building investments. Jenessa plans to retire at age 35, and she’s wondering if the 4 percent withdrawal rule applies for such a long time horizon. Her friend swears that it’s designed to cover a 30-year retirement, not a 60+ year retirement. Is that correct? Jacqui is 24 and recently married. She’d like to open a 529 College Savings Plan for her future children, which she doesn’t plan on having for another 8 to 10 years. Should she do this? David is on-track to reach financial independence at age 50. He would like to start adding bonds to his taxable brokerage accounts. How should he manage this? Mikayla lives in Atlanta. Her employer gives her a stipend to use public transportation. This money can only be used for that purpose. She’s thinking of getting rid of her car so that she can start using public transit, and applying the cost-savings of getting rid of her vehicle into a downpayment fund for a future home. Should she do this? Former financial planner Joe Saul-Sehy and I answer these six questions on today’s episode. For more information, visit the show notes at 
May 6, 2019
#192: “Don’t buy lattes.” This classic snippet of personal finance advice isn’t specifically anti-Starbucks. “Lattes” are a metaphor for the tiny expenses that leak money from our pockets, often without us realizing how much we’re spending. Your “latte” could be a pile of subscriptions: HBONow, YouTube Red, Spotify Premium, Netflix, Hulu Plus, the CostCo membership that you haven’t used in two years, and -- for that matter -- the gym membership that you also haven’t used in two years. (Ahem.) Your “latte” could be buying bottled water and snacks at the airport, or absentmindedly shopping online when you’re bored, or ordering restaurant take-out or delivery too often. Your “latte” might be spending too much on trinkets and souvenirs during your vacations, when photographs would capture the memory. David Bach is the New York Times bestselling author who created the phrase “don’t buy lattes.” He joins us on today’s podcast episode to discuss The Latte Factor. For more information, visit the show notes at 
May 3, 2019
#191: Should Russell rent a cheap apartment, or should he take out a loan for an RV in order to save money on rent? Carl is working two jobs that each pay $12 per hour. He has $5,000 in student loans. What can he do to improve his situation? Caroline is about to finish paying off her student loans, and in the next few years she wants to buy a home. Where should she park her savings in the meantime? Philip is saving for financial independence, but he’s not sure what to do with his time once he quits his job. How can he discover what ignites him? Amanda is receiving an inheritance, a New York City 4-plex valued at $500,000. How should she handle this? And an anonymous caller wants to know what the step-by-step path to wealth building would look like. I answered all of his questions in today’s episode, plus I feature a short follow-up interview with Kim, the firefighter whom we met in Episode 139. Enjoy! For more information, visit the show notes at 
April 29, 2019
#190: More than 20 years ago, affluence researchers Dr. Thomas Stanley and Dr. William Danko surveyed a vast number of millionaire households in the United States. What they discovered was groundbreaking at the time. The average U.S. millionaire, they found, lives a frugal lifestyle. They are disproportionately clustered in modest, middle-class neighborhoods. They drive used cars. They don’t spend money on jewelry, watches, boats or other high-ticket items. They’re self-made, meaning they did not inherit their wealth; they’re first-generation millionaires. In 1996, the researchers published their findings in a book called The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy. The book became a mega-bestseller and, to this day, remains a top personal finance classic. Fast-forward to 2012. Dr. Thomas Stanley’s daughter, Sarah, followed in her father’s footsteps. She’s grown up to become a researcher, earning a Ph.D. in applied psychology and exploring the world of behavioral finance. She became the Director of Research for the Affluent Market Institute, the research company her father founded, and she launched her own research firm, DataPoints. In 2012, Dr. Sarah Stanley Fallaw and Dr. Thomas Stanley decided to update their research on millionaire households in anticipation of the 20th anniversary of the publication of The Millionaire Next Door. They wanted to see what attributes are different, 20 years later, and what qualities remain the same. They crafted another large-scale survey of millionaires. Yet before they could complete the project, tragedy intervened. In 2015, Dr. Thomas Stanley was killed in a car accident. He was hit by a drunk driver. His daughter resolved to finish the research that the two of them started together. She sent out the survey they created, gathered and analyzed the results, and published a sequel, The Next Millionaire Next Door, co-authored with her late father. The book is Dr. Thomas Stanley’s final, posthumously-published book. The book was released in October 2018, twenty-two years after the original. On today’s podcast episode, Dr. Sarah Stanley Fallaw joins us to describe what’s different about millionaires, more than two decades later … … and what’s remained the same. For more information, visit the show notes at
April 22, 2019
#189: Julie, age 27, calculated her expected net worth based on the formula taught in the classic personal finance book The Millionaire Next Door. She’s concerned. Her current net worth is significantly lower than the number that the formula revealed. Is she on-track? Anonymous wants to save for a downpayment on a home. Should she reduce her 401k contributions in order to amass these savings? Should she store some of that money in a Roth IRA? Samantha is more than halfway finished with paying off her debt. In order to make this happen, she took on a second job. How much will she owe in taxes? Maxime works at a job in which his 401k only offers expensive choices. Should he put his money in a taxable brokerage account, instead? Leslie’s parents are going to retire in five years, but they’ve only saved $65,000. What should they do? How can she help? Claire is creating an estate plan. What should she be thinking about? Former financial planner Joe Saul-Sehy and I answer these six questions in today’s episode. For more information, visit the show notes at 
April 15, 2019
#188: In May 1915, a renowned 58-year-old sea captain, Captain William Thomas Turner, made a series of questionable decisions. He was the captain of the Lusitania, a ship with 1,959 passengers, sailing from Manhattan to London. The first World War was taking place around them, and Captain Turner knew he needed to move swiftly to evade German submarines. His ship approached England; land was in sight. They had almost made it. Yet for reasons that will always remain a mystery, around 1 pm on May 7th, Captain Turner slowed the speed of the vessel to around 18 knots, slower than the 21 knots that they needed to outpace the threat of submarines. Around 45 minutes later, he executed what's called a "four-point bearing," which forced him to pilot the ship in a straight line rather than a zigzag course, which would be better for outmaneuvering torpedoes. At 2:10, the ship was ripped apart by a torpedo. Nearly 1,200 people were killed. Since that fateful day, historians have pondered why he made those two decisions, simple choices which may have permanently altered the lives of thousands. Today's podcast guest, Daniel Pink, has an unusual theory. He believes Captain Turner may have made those sloppy choices because it was the afternoon. Daniel Pink is the author of When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing. In his book, he makes the case that the time-of-day in which we take actions -- early morning, mid-afternoon, or nighttime -- makes a bigger impact than we realize. Our energy and attention unfold in waves, with a rise, then a drop, then a resurgence. The secret to perfect timing isn't simply a matter of managing daily routines, however. Daniel Pink also shows how this pattern emerges over the span of a natural human life, with the choices we make in our sunset years more prone to editing, to curating, than the choices we make in our younger years when time feels abundant. Senior citizens may have smaller circles of friends, he says, not due to loneliness but rather because they're editing their circles down to the few people who matter most. He discusses how midlife is a fascinating point in which our brains signal that we've squandered half of our time. These midpoints can act as either a slump or a propellant. He talks about how we appreciate things more if we believe that they're ending. In one study, researchers gave five Hershey Kisses to subjects; they asked the subjects to rate their taste and enjoyment. When the researchers handed out the fifth Hershey Kiss, they told half of the subjects "here is your fifth chocolate," and they told the other half of the subjects, "here is your final chocolate." The ones who were told that they were receiving the final chocolate rated their enjoyment of it more highly. How much does timing affect our lives? How do we manage our days, and our decades, with a stronger awareness of the way that chronology impacts our mood, energy and priorities? Daniel Pink answers these questions in his book, When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing. He talks about it on today's show. For more information, visit the show notes at 
April 8, 2019
#187: Sarah needs $36,000 per year in rental income to reach FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early). She owns several rentals. When can she comfortably consider herself FIRE? AyV wants to rent out his primary residence. Should he renovate? Anonymous lives in a high-cost-of-living city, but she found a small city nearby with Class B and C+ multifamily properties. These properties need a little work. How can she estimate repair costs? Carly bought a property that underperformed the one percent rule. It’s appreciated in value. Should she sell? Erin is trying to decide if she should buy a $270,000 personal residence in northern Virginia, or a $50,000 rental property in Huntsville, Alabama. Nancy wants to buy rental properties from overseas, but she’s having a tough time finding real estate agents who take her seriously as a buyer. What should she do? I answer these six questions in today’s final Ask Paula - Real Estate episode. Enjoy! For more information, visit the show notes at 
April 5, 2019
#186: Mike and Lauren have run a cleaning company, started and sold a biodiesel company, repaired and resold motorcycles, opened a coffeeshop, owned a DVD rental box, sold e-cigarettes, bought a storage warehouse, launched a YouTube channel with nearly 150,000 subscribers, moved to Manhattan, moved back to Florida, backpacked across Europe and gave birth to two children in Costa Rica. Whew. I’m exhausted by just writing their list of entrepreneurial experiments. Their willingness to take risks has paid off … big time. Mike and Lauren reached financial independence at age 30 and 29, respectively. Today, they join us on the Afford Anything podcast to discuss how they did it. For more information, visit the show notes at 
April 1, 2019
#185: Hello from Austin, Texas! I’m living in an Airbnb here for the next 5 weeks. Listen to the end of today’s episode to find out why … and discover how these next 5 weeks, for me, exemplify the “why” of financial independence. In the meantime, though, the show must go on! Here are the questions that we’re answering in today’s episode. An anonymous listener named Seeking FIRE wants to know how she can talk about financial independence with people who ridicule the topic. What do you say to those who laugh at the very idea? Russell owns a landscaping company and is also a part-time student. He’d like to earn more money on the side, but his schedule is overbooked. What can he do? Nick and his family are moving to the Washington D.C. area for approximately two to six years. They own two rental properties free-and-clear, and would like to buy a personal residence when they move. How should he save for the downpayment? Gerardo lives in Mexico and wants to retire on his investment portfolio, using the 4 percent withdrawal rule. How should he invest, given currency fluctuations and other international factors? Anonymous left her job and wants to know if she should roll over her 401k from her old employer. We tackle these five questions in today’s episode. We also answer a comment from a listener who says that individual stock-picking and active management doesn’t get the credit it deserves. For more information, visit the show notes at 
March 25, 2019
#184: In 2003, Beyonce Knowles-Carter felt shy about performing sultry lyrics and dance routines on stage. She needed a tactic to overcome her nerves and stage fright. So she created an alter ego, Sasha Fierce, to bring out her more assertive side. Beyonce is one of many top performers -- along with other top artists, athletes, executives, speakers, investors, bankers, lawyers, negotiators, and more -- who use alter egos as a tactic to overcome their insecurities and become better versions of themselves. Today's podcast guest, Todd Herman, is an expert at the practice of creating alter egos to improve your performance in any arena of life. He says that crafting an alter ego can help you become a better worker, leader, manager, investor, and even a better parent. Todd joins us on today's podcast to describe the "why" and "how" of creating an alter ego at work, at home, and in social settings. For more information, visit the show notes at 
March 18, 2019
#183: Should a newlywed couple with two cash flowing rental properties sell one to pay off $92,000 of student loan debt? What percentage of your portfolio should you have in rental properties? What's the smartest way to approach rental property investing, particularly if you get anxiety thinking about tenant requests? How much should high interest rates impact your decision to buy a rental? I answer these four questions on today's episode, plus, I have a big announcement regarding the future of real estate Ask Paula episodes, so check it out. :)   For more information, visit the show notes at 
March 11, 2019
#182: Millions of smart, educated and successful people make dumb mistakes with their money ... and they don't realize it. I'm not talking about obvious dumb mistakes, like spending 85 percent of your income on a fleet of Ultra-Luxe-Fancymobiles for your 16-car garage. That's clearly a bad idea. Instead, I'm talking about hidden dumb mistakes that you may not realize until it's too late. Perhaps you don't have enough insurance, or you hold the wrong types of policies for your age and life situation. Maybe you don't have an estate plan, or you haven't updated your estate plan after your childbirth or divorce or remarriage. What if you're taking financial advice from the wrong people, or buying products that you don't understand? Are you rushing to buy a home too soon? Did you take out too much debt for college? Today's podcast guest, Emmy-nominated CBS News business analyst Jill Schlesinger, describes 13 dumb mistakes that smart people make with their money. For more information, visit the show notes at 
March 4, 2019
#181: Imagine that you’re going to take a 6-month to 9-month mini-retirement. How should you plan? What should you do? Sure, you’ll need to have enough savings to cover your expenses. You might want to find some part-time work. You may need to sell off a few investment. And of course, you’ll need to think about health insurance. But what else should you consider? And how will your first taste of voluntary unemployment impact your mental and emotional health? Former financial planner Joe Saul-Sehy and I discuss this in today’s podcast episode. For more information, visit the show notes at 
March 1, 2019
#180: Nearly two decades ago, Stacy Berman launched a fitness bootcamp in New York City: Stacy’s Bootcamp. After six years, Stacy’s Bootcamp grossed more than $1 million. The company had zero employees; the other teachers were contractors. Stacy is one of the many entrepreneurs profiled by Elaine Pofeldt, author of the book The Million Dollar, One Person Business. In today's show, we talk about solopreneurs who make a $1M without any employees. For more, visit
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