Afford Anything

by askaffordanything@gmail.com

61m

average length

267

episodes

4

followers

You can afford anything, but not everything. We make daily decisions about how to spend money, time, energy, focus and attention – and ultimately, our life. Every decision is a trade-off against another choice. But how deeply do we contemplate these choices? Are we settling for the default mode? Or are we ruthlessly optimizing around a deliberate life? Host Paula Pant interviews a diverse array of entrepreneurs, early retirees, millionaires, investors, artists, adventurers, scientists, psychologists, productivity experts, world travelers and regular people, exploring the tough work of living a truly excellent life. Want to learn more? Download our free book, Escape, at http://affordanything.com/escape

Best Afford Anything episodes upvoted by the community

Last updated on May 28, 2020, 5:26 pm

#3

How to Believe Your Time is Abundant -- with Laura Vanderkam

August 27, 2018 • 64m

#147: Which of the following two attitudes describes you? "I'm crunched for time." -- or -- "I have all the time in the world." I'm guessing your answer is the first, rather than the second. But what if you could feel like your time is expansive and abundant, without drastic changes to your schedule? Most of us want to feel "off the clock," enjoying an existence in which we can linger, without feeling pressure from the demands and stresses on our schedules. According to Laura Vanderkam, even the busiest, most-scheduled people can achieve this feeling. We can live off-the-clock. Laura is a time management expert, but her latest book isn't about *management* in the traditional sense of the word. Rather, it focuses on *time perception* -- getting into the headspace of believing time is abundant, regardless of the demands imposed upon it. The brain stores memories efficiently, which means it vividly recalls novel experiences -- such as the one-week trip to Belize -- while compressing repetitive experiences, like a commute, into a single memory. For that reason, time feels like it passes more quickly when we encounter situations that are routine and familiar, and slows when we experience new situations. That's how a one-week conference feels long, but a routine week at the office flies by. Of course, we can't eschew familiarity; there are many benefits to adopting a routine. But we can slow time by savoring our everyday experiences. The more we engage mindfully in everyday activities -- from savoring each bite of food to noticing the flowers during our commute to work -- the more we're likely to feel relaxed about our time. We create happy memories, rather than compressing our experiences in our minds. Treating our hours with intention can also lengthen our experience of time. We plan and structure our workdays, deciding how to spend our hours between 8 am and 6 pm. But often, we aren't deliberate about how we'll craft the hours from 6 pm to 11 pm, and therefore can feel like we rarely see family, even if we're with them for three to four hours each evening. Deliberately crafting hours doesn't mean jam-packing our schedule in 30-minute increments. Scheduling a two-hour block of time to linger over a long dinner can blend intentionality with the art of savoring. In fact, Laura notes, those who are the most disciplined about their time are also more likely to feel that they enjoy plenty of free time. Structure creates freedom. Today on the podcast, Laura and I talk about how to make time feel abundant. For more information, visit the show notes at https://affordanything.com/episode147

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#5

Your Money or Your Life -- with Vicki Robin, bestselling author

April 02, 2018 • 63m

#123: In the 1970's, a woman named Vicki Robin teamed up with a man named Joe Dominguez. They came from different backgrounds: she was an Ivy League graduate with a comfortable upbringing; he was raised in Spanish Harlem on "welfare cheese." But they shared one common thread: a commitment to financial independence, not just as a money management strategy, but as a philosophy on life. Vicki and Joe became partners in both work and life. They united over a definition of "FI" that expanded beyond paying your bills through your savings and investments. They saw FI as a lifestyle that exists in three dimensions: 1: Financial Intelligence -- Your ability to think about money in an objective, unbiased and non-emotional manner. 2: Financial Integrity -- Your ability to earn and spend in a manner that's consistent with your values, and to stay aware of the impact of your earning/spending choices on yourself, your family and your planet. 3: Financial Independence -- Your ability to break the shackles of paycheck dependence, and ALSO your ability to declare independence from limiting beliefs, fears, and the perception that money will solve your problems. In 1992, Vicki and Joe co-authored a book called Your Money or Your Life, outlining the FI philosophy. Their book became a mega-bestseller, selling more than one million copies. It landed on the New York Times bestseller list and spent more than 5 years on the BusinessWeek bestseller list. Oprah Winfrey said: "This is a wonderful book. It can really change your life." Vicki and Joe devoted the next five years to spreading the message of FI. They appeared on hundreds of TV and radio shows, including Oprah, Good Morning America, and NPR. They were written about in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, People Magazine, and Newsweek. Joe passed away in 1997, and Vicki continued spreading the FI message for another five years, before her cancer diagnosis caused her to take a step back. Today, Vicki is 72, healthy, and still spreading the FI message. And she'd like to discuss a fourth dimension to FI: 4: Financial Interdepedence -- Your ability to live within a flow of giving and receiving. Interdependence comes from our relationship with our communities, our nation, and the natural world. In today's podcast episode, Vicki discusses how we can move from financial independence to financial interdependence. Enjoy! For more, go to http://affordanything.com/session123

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#6

How Dave Ramsey Taught His Kids About Money -- with Rachel Cruze

February 05, 2018 • 57m

#115: Rachel Cruze was born the year her father, Dave Ramsey, filed for bankruptcy. During her childhood, she watched her parents transition from struggling and rebuilding from their bankruptcy, to becoming debt-free multimillionaires. Her dad went on to become the host of The Dave Ramsey Show, a money management radio show and podcast that reaches more than 12 million people per week. It’s central message is to budget carefully and avoid debt. Despite their success, the Ramseys committed to raising money-smart kids. They didn’t want their children to become lazy or entitled. Rachel paid for toys as a child. She partially paid for her car as a teenager. She worked throughout college. Rachel, now in her late 20’s, grew up to become an accomplished speaker and New York Times bestselling author. She and her father co-authored the book Smart Money, Smart Kids, which reached the number one spot on the NYTimes bestseller list. Her latest book, Love Your Life, Not Theirs, is also a mega-bestseller. In this episode, Rachel describes the lessons she learned about saving, spending, budgeting, debt and giving as the daughter of Dave Ramsey. We discuss “Instagram envy” -- the act of comparing your life to someone elses’ -- and how to avoid the traps of consumerism and materialism. Read the full show notes -- and download a FREE gratitude worksheet -- at http://affordanything.com/episode115

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#7

Ask Paula: What the F**k are Annuities?

July 02, 2018 • 74m

#137: Today's episode is an annuity sandwich: we answer one question about family and relationships, three questions about annuities, and one question about time management. My friend and former financial planner Joe Saul-Sehy joins me to answer questions in what, I hope, is the most entertaining episode about annuities you'll hear. Here are the five questions that we'll tackle today. Anonymous asks: I didn't grow up with much money, and my father recently went into bankruptcy. I've worked hard to become financially stable. Unfortunately, my parents expect a handout. How do you handle parents and other family members who look for handouts when they see you're doing well? Zoey asks: I'd like to retire in the next 10-15 years. I'd like to understand the difference between an investment with a lump-sum payout vs. an annuity fund. What are the benefits and drawbacks of these options? How do annuities work? What are their benefits? How do I know what's right for me? Charlene asks: Let's say you're looking at your retirement portfolio, and you realize you're behind. You still have 10-15 years left. You have 10 percent of your portfolio in an annuity. Should you move this money into a stock fund? Or should you keep the annuity? Magy asks: My husband and I are both 32, and save 25% of their income for retirement. He has a 401(k) and maxes out a Roth IRA. I'm a teacher and make a pension contribution. I also max out my Roth IRA and contribute a small amount to a 403(b). My 403(b), however, has a variable annuity with no surrender charge, with a 1.5 percent account fee. Should I keep putting money in this 403(b)? I also have a side hustle; would it be better for me to open a retirement account through my side business? Also, since we're already saving 25% towards retirement, I'm curious if we should invest more for other goals. We're putting 3 percent of our income in non-retirement investment accounts and 1.5 percent of our income in our sons' 529 plans. How should we divide our savings between retirement vs. other long-term goals? Laura asks: You've often written about the importance of an emergency fund and cash reserves. Do you have any ideas in thinking about this way with regard to your time or focus? If you're spending at capacity -- whether you're spending money, time or focus -- you have no space for either emergencies or opportunities. How do you conceptualize this? How do you balance busy-ness with the importance of creating free time and space? We answer these five questions in today's episode. Enjoy! ______ Resources Mentioned: - Afford Anything podcast episode with Laura Vanderkam - Laura Vanderkam's book, 168 Hours - David Allen's book, Getting Things Done - Austin Kleon's book, Steal Like an Artist - RoseMarie Garner interview on the FinCon podcast - Afford Anything blog post, "I tracked my time in 15 min increments"   Visit the website at https://affordanything.com/episode137

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#9

How to Create an Authentic Life

July 07, 2018 • 51m

#138: There’s a famous quote that’s attributed to Henry Ford. The quote says, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”⠀ ⠀ There’s no proof that Henry Ford actually said this. But whether or not that quote is historically accurate, the point remains. If Elon Musk had asked people what they wanted, they would have said a car with better gas mileage.⠀ ⠀ But Elon never bothered asking. Because he knows you cannot change history from the middle of the bell curve. And he knows that design by consensus, by definition, leads to average results.⠀ ⠀ He may ask for input on the details. But he will never ask the crowd to guide his vision.⠀ ⠀ True innovation comes from vision. We see this in technology. We see this an art, music, writing. But often, we fail to see this in ourselves. We allow the crowd to dictate who we are: what our dreams are, what our goals are, what our fears are. We crowdsource our vision and live a life of “should.”⠀ ⠀ Authenticity is the art of not giving a sh*t about should.⠀ ⠀ This sounds fine on the surface, when we’re pontificating about our lives. But it’s much scarier in the real world, when you face the reality that people will judge you. They will criticize you. They will tell you that you’re wrong. ⠀ ⠀ The more you try to step away from should, the more shoulds they throw at you. You should be married. You should have kids. You should have a job.⠀ ⠀ The thing is, they may be talking about you, but it’s not really about you. Your decisions are triggering to them, and they’re reacting to that.⠀ ⠀ Authenticity means accepting that if other people get triggered, that’s not your responsibility. You may be the catalyst, but you’re not responsible for their emotions.⠀ ⠀ And in that regard, authenticity is also the art of setting boundaries.⠀ ⠀ That doesn’t mean you exclude people from your life. But it does mean that you set healthy emotional boundaries, such that their thoughts and feelings do not become internalized as your own.⠀ ⠀ _____ This is a snippet from a speech I delivered at the World Domination Summit in Portland, Oregon last week. I'm sharing the speech for this July 2018 First Friday bonus episode. We broadcast one podcast episode per week, and on the first Friday of each month, we roll out a special bonus episode. Today's episode is July's special bonus episode, and I've divided it into two sections: during the first half, I share the speech that I delivered, and during the second half, I discuss how and why I wrote this speech -- and the key takeaway that I hope people learn from it. Enjoy! _______________________________________ For more ways to interact or listen to the show, go to http://affordanything.com/episode138

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#12

How I Retired at Age 32 - with Liz Thames from Frugalwoods

March 19, 2018 • 61m

#121: After Liz Thames graduated from college, she couldn't find a job. "Nowhere would hire me," Thames says. "I had what I thought was this nice resume, and I sent out over 50 applications. Nowhere called me back." She took a temporary job at a document-scanning agency, then joined Americorps to serve as a full-time volunteer in a low-income neighborhood in Brooklyn. She lived on a stipend of $10,000 annually, plus food stamps and a transit pass. She saved $2,000 from her $10,000 stipend, while paying rent in New York. To say that Thames is a natural saver is an understatement. Her frugality stayed intact throughout her twenties. She got married, earned a free masters degree and advanced into higher-paying roles. But she and her husband, who was equally frugal, continued saving as much as possible -- at times pushing their savings rate to as high as 70 percent of their income. When they were 30, they decided to shoot for financial independence. They shared a dream of moving to a rural farm, where they could raise children and spend everyday outdoors. By age 32, they achieved financial independence. Their investment portfolio is robust enough that they could draw down, in perpetuity, for the rest of their lives. They rented out their home in Cambridge, quit their office jobs, and moved to a 66-acre farm in Vermont. These days, they live on a combination of their rental income and 'side hustle' income from their blog, Frugalwoods. They have two children. Today, Liz joins me on the Afford Anything podcast to share the story of how she and her husband achieved financial independence by age 32. Resources Mentioned: Book: Meet the Frugalwoods Website: Frugalwoods.com   For more information, visit the show notes at http://affordanything.com/episode121

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#14

What Chess Taught Me About Making Smarter Life Moves -- with Steve Gossett

April 17, 2017 • 68m

#73: Last January, I went to a party at a trailer park that featured a huge bonfire, a few llamas, and a member of Public Enemy. (I realize that sounds like the setup to a joke. Welcome to my life.) While I was there, I met a former competitive chess player named Steve Gossett. Steve is a Los Angeles-based filmmaker who creates Princess Rap Battle videos for a YouTube channel with more than 1 million subscribers. But that's not why I invited Steve onto the show. I asked him to join me on the podcast to discuss the lessons that chess taught him about money, work and life. On this fascinating episode, Steve and I discuss:  - Opening Theory: At the start of the game, you have a limited selection of moves. Yet you can quickly lose the game if you choose the wrong moves. Don't lose at the outset. - Muddled Midgame: While the first few moves are (relatively) simple, even the experts don't quite understand the complexities of the mid-game. - Gambit: Sometimes, you need to be willing to give up a piece on the board for the sake of getting another strategic win. - Eliminate options: You'll fatigue yourself if you try to consider every move. Learn how to quickly eliminate options so that you can focus on choosing between a small handful of optimal moves. - Think ahead: Don't just think about the consequences of the next move. Think many, many moves ahead on the board. Also, realize that every move carries an opportunity cost: once you move a piece on the board, it's not in that same position anymore -- for better or for worse. - Study/practice/knowledge can reduce time pressure: Chess is a timed game with a ticking clock. You can make smarter, faster decisions through study and practice. Knowledge is your competitive advantage. I hope you find this conversation as fascinating as I did. Enjoy!  - Paula Links to the Princess Rap Battle and Whitney Avalon's YouTube channel can be found in the show notes at http://affordanything.com/episode73  

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#17

Ask Paula: No, Really, I'm Asking for a Friend! -- How to Crush $500,000 in Debt

July 03, 2017 • 53m

#84: This week, I tackle your questions with my good friend, recovering financial planner Joe Saul-Sehy. Here's what we answer: 1. I'm asking for a friend -- no, really, I'm asking for a friend! My friends are married and buried. They're a married couple, buried in $500,000 of debt. Some is federal student loans, some is private student loans, and some is credit card debt. They're paying the minimum on their student loans, with the hope that these loans will be forgiven after 25 years. They're also saving money in their retirement accounts. Is this a terrible plan? Should they stop saving for retirement while they wipe out their student loans? If so, how can I convince them? 2. My husband and I are both 30 and live in Ft. Collins, Colorado. We don't plan on having children. We know that long-term care insurance gets more expensive as you age. Should we buy this insurance now? Or can we self-insure for this through adequate retirement/investment funds? 3. I own my home free-and-clear, and I'm buying a second home. Should I take a cash-out refinance on my primary home? Get a conventional loan from the bank? Or something else? 4. My wife, 4 children and I live in the San Francisco Bay Area. We have $5,000 in credit card debt, which we've paid down from $30,000 in the last two years. We owe $20,000 on a minivan and $18,000 on student loans, both of which have 2-3 percent interest rates. We have two IRA's, one Traditional and one Roth. I also have about $20,000 in my company's non-matching 401(k). Should I focus my future investments on Traditional or Roth accounts? What accounts should I use when saving for my children's college funds? 5.  I'm curious about your own investments, Paula. What's under the hood? __ Thank you to everyone who left a comment after last week's show. I'll talk more about these amazing responses at the end of Episode 85 (next week's episode.) For now -- enjoy today's show! Thanks! Show notes can be found at http://affordanything.com/episode84

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#19

Ask Paula - How to Convince a Spouse to Invest in Low-fee Index Funds?

January 15, 2018 • 49m

#112: How can I convince my spouse to invest in low-fee index funds? How should my fiancé and I combine our finances? If I'd like to invest in rental properties, should I also buy stocks? Former financial planner Joe Saul-Sehy joins me to tackle these audience questions and more. Thomas asks: My wife is suspicious of Vanguard. She questions how they could stay in business while charging low fees -- isn't there a catch? She's also reluctant about investing the majority of our money in a broad-market index fund like VTSAX. She'd prefer more diversification. Recently, we met with a major brokerage firm that charges a 1.75 percent management fee. How can I get my wife to see the detrimental effects of choosing this high-fee broker? Shy asks: My fiancé and I are getting married soon. We both live with our families at the moment; we'll form a new household after our wedding. Neither of us has ever lived independently before. How should we budget for this, given that we're not sure what expenses to expect? Also, any tips on how to commingle finances? Paris asks: I'd like to invest in rental properties. Should I still make stock market investments? Should I contribute to a 401k? Kristin asks: I've been DIY'ing my household's finances and taxes. So far, our situation has been simple. However, in a few years, my husband is going to retire. When this happens, we'd like to sell our home, perhaps invest in rental properties, and move either out-of-state or out-of-country. Our financial and tax situation is about to become a lot more complicated. I'd like to talk to a financial professional ... but whom should I choose? Should I hire a financial coach? a financial planner? an accountant? an investment advisor? someone else? We tackle these four questions on today's show. Enjoy! ______ Resources Mentioned: Thomas: Calculator - How do expenses impact fund returns? https://www.calcxml.com/do/inv12 Article - How a 1% fee could cost $590,000 in retirement savings https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/investing/millennial-retirement-fees-one-percent-half-million-savings-impact/ Article - The Impact of Investment Costs https://investor.vanguard.com/investing/how-to-invest/impact-of-costs Shy: Article - The Anti-Budget http://affordanything.com/2013/03/05/anti-budget-or-80-20-budge/ Article - Three Methods for Co-Mingling a Couple's Finances https://www.thebalance.com/three-methods-for-co-mingling-a-couple-s-finances-453849 Kristin: FINRA Broker Check website CFP.net Guidevine (website) XY Planning Network

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