If you want to live your dreams after retirement, you have to track your personal finances. And you can start doing that right now with Play Louder. Play Louder offers everything from coaching to a financial independence roadmap made exclusively for you. Find out if you are investing in the right real estate properties and how much you need before you retire. Join Moneeka Sawyer as she talks to the Owner of Play Louder, Joe DiSanto. Discover Joe’s story of how he embraced his relationship with money. Learn why real estate investing is the best way to earn money without much risk and why it’s best to start thinking about retirement as early as you can. Start mapping your destination number so you can start investing and saving your way to it. Financial planning and budgeting are essential to how you want to live your best life. Treat your life like a business today!
I am so excited to bring to the show, Joe DiSanto. Joe spent his childhood riding BMX bikes, break dancing, and memorizing A-movies, but the carefree days of youth wouldn’t last long. By thirteen, he was working as a busboy helping his recently divorced mom and picking up some of his own tabs. A valuable lesson he learned was if you don’t deal with your money, your money will deal with you. I love that, Joe. Thank you. I love that even in his bio, he’s offering nuggets.
From that point on, he made it his mission to learn everything he could about making smart money moves, and it paid off. By age 30, Joe had wiped out $70,000 in student loans, bought his first house, and started a post-production company in Los Angeles. Over the next decade, the company grew to 30-plus employees with over $5 million in annual revenue while producing two critically acclaimed documentaries and an Emmy award-winning HBO series.
During this time, he and his wife also transacted on fifteen residential and commercial real estate properties, but nothing had a more life-changing impact than the birth of their son. After a successful nineteen-year run in LA, the couple decided to slow down and invest in their new family. They cashed out on their business and bought in a small-town life on the Florida Coast. Having semi-retired at age 43, Joe’s efforts are now focused on his education blog Play Louder, where he shares a lifetime of fiscal know-how to help individuals and business owners navigate their finances, increase their net worth, and plan for a better future. Joe, that is an awesome bio. Welcome to the show.
I appreciate it. Thanks for having me.
Normally, I start with could you give us a high-level story but that was everything. I love it. I’m sure there’s plenty more but I want to get into the meat of this conversation because I think it’s so valuable. Joe, I want to jump into budgeting and tracking finances. We talk about this high level on this show. We’ve done it a lot but it sounds like for you, you can give us some good meaty stuff on how to implement these ideas.
Let’s first talk about tracking finances. The reason I want to talk about this is because this is a subject most people hate. They don’t know how to do it. They don’t know how to get started. It’s overwhelming like, “How am I going to track every single thing?” Could you talk to us about that, why is it important, and how to do it?
I started tracking my finances as a young person toward the end of college because my debt was racking up. I was trying to get a handle on things. I remember thinking to myself, “I might have read a book.” It was like, “You should write down everything you spend in the day because it’ll help you be aware and then be able to make changes.” I was doing that for a little bit in this little notebook. I had to add it up at the end of the day.Write down everything you spend in the day because it'll help you be aware of your spending so you can make changes. Click To Tweet
After a while, I was like, “There’s got to be a computerized way to do this.” There was, as it turns out. This was in the late ‘90s. Nowadays, you can say, “I wish there was a way I could,” and of course, there’s always a way you can with a computer or an app or whatever. Back then, the main option was Quicken which I still use. You had to go to Staples and buy it on a CD and all that. It’s much easier nowadays.
What I started to realize, almost subconsciously, is that your personal finances are like a business. Later on, I started a business. When you start a business, it’s a given that you’re going to track your finances for the business. If you don’t do bookkeeping for your business, you even think to yourself, “There’s a good chance I will fail if I don’t know what’s going on.” You can’t borrow money if you don’t have bookkeeping done for your business. In order to be an effective business person, you have to track your finances. You have to look at the data, look at the results, and then make decisions based on that information.
It’s no different with your personal finances but for some reason, there’s generally no thought amongst the general population that they should be paying attention to their personal finances, and running their life like a business. Your life is income either from your job or business, whatever. It’s an expense. You want to have a net profit at the end of the year. That is essentially your savings. If you don’t do that and know that you do have a net profit and you are accumulating savings, you’re at a great disadvantage.
The thing is some people make so much money that they far out-earn the need to do this, but that’s very rare. Also, the more money you make, the more money you tend to spend. You’d be surprised how many people make a mid to high six figures a year and spend it all and save nothing. It happens all the time, and that’s the saddest thing. Savings could have been so easy and you could have set yourself up so easily and you missed it, and then your prime earning years disappeared on you. You’re like, “Bummer.”
It’s worst than a bummer. That’s a major bummer because you end up with, “I made all this money. I developed a particular lifestyle and now what? Either I keep working until the end of time or now I’m playing catch up. I’m not making as much money.” Later, after you turn 50, you do not get raises.
They’re looking to get you out of there because you’re the highest-paid employee.
That’s right. If you need to continue to work, your job satisfaction goes down. You’re not getting as appreciated financially by your coworkers or your bosses. There’s a lot that happens. I know because we’re going through those now ourselves. We love working, but it’s a very different experience than it is when you’re in your prime earning years. You want to utilize this.
Sometimes you get tired too. The funny thing about getting older is you’re making more money so you’re more a target for a layoff and you also want to work less. You’re the worst possible employee for the business. Someone who wants to work less, take more vacation and get paid more. The employers are like, “I like you, but I got a young eager 25 or 30-year-old that I could pay half the price and will show up on Saturdays without an issue.” It’s supply and demand at play. Who knows? Maybe there are some amazing altruistic employers out there that don’t think that but I doubt it.
Anyway, back to your question. The funny thing was as I was doing this, it was making sense to me. The irony of doing my personal finances is once I started a business, I taught myself how to do good bookkeeping and financial management by using Quicken. I was astounded at how good I became at using this desk personal finance software. There’s a great benefit to doing it if you do think you want to do a business down the road. It’s a great do-it-yourself way to learn how to manage a business.
You look at your life like a business. It’s got to perform well. If it’s not performing well, it’s a business either that you don’t want to be in essentially. You got to take it seriously or in the case of your life, you can’t get out of it so you got to make adjustments. You want to take it seriously and put the work in. That’s the part that people, unfortunately, don’t like to do. I’ve come to look at it a little bit like an area of interest. Some people love to exercise. They would do it even if it wasn’t good for them, but it turns out it’s a good hobby to have because exercise is good for you. It helps you to live longer.Look at your life like a business. It's got to perform well. Click To Tweet
I happen to like managing money. It’s fun for me or maybe not fun. It’s meditative and relaxes me in a weird way. I don’t mind doing it, but I realize that for a lot of people, it’s like their kryptonite. It’s the last thing that they ever want to do. You do have to ask yourself, “Is that me? Is this going to be hard for me?” If it’s going to be hard, either commit to it like committing to exercise or a good diet or whatever and say, “I know this is good for me. I just have to do it,” or you seek help because it’s so important.
Doing it can help you to save so much money that you could probably outsave the amount of money you spend having someone else help you do it. Maybe that would be a financial coach or whatever or do something in the middle. It’s much like you get a trainer at the gym to keep you accountable. You can get a financial coach that you check in with once a month. They look at the numbers and they make sure you did your homework. They help you analyze it and you’re accountable to somebody to make sure you get this done.
Using software now has gotten easier and it all connects to your bank. It downloads everything automatically. Over time, it slowly memorizes where you spend money. It gets to a point where it’s quite automated. You can keep up with your finance tracking in an hour every couple of weeks personally. That’s about what I spend on it these days. Not only does it keep you more inclined to save but it shows you what your habits are. It gives you all the easy places to make small adjustments to save even more.
That’s one thing. The other thing though is the reason you’re doing the tracking is because you’re ultimately trying to do a good job toward your long-term goal. Your long-term goal is ultimately savings, then investing, and then eventually, getting to a retirement state that you can afford. Nowadays, kids call it financial independence, which sounds sexier than retirement, especially for a young person.
It is helpful to keep you motivated to do the tracking if you have a goal in mind. It’s more important to first sit down and think about what your goal is, where you’re headed, how much money you want to save, how much you’re going to need, all these things and have a plan. As you’re tracking, you’re looking at the results and seeing if they live up to the plan that you set out for yourself.
Maybe that sounds terrible to some people. Maybe it sounds like something they want to get in and do for themselves because they know it’s a good idea. Whether it sounds good or it sounds bad, like you said in the beginning, if you don’t deal with your money, it’s going to deal with you. You could stick your head in the sand and cross your fingers, and hope that when you’re 65 and you get fired and you’re not hirable, and you want to stop working anyway, that you have enough money and you don’t end up in a trailer park, or you could take it seriously and have a plan, and see that you’re accomplishing your goals or the year.
I always say hope is not a plan.
Hope is not a plan. I’ll admit, I’m the hard-ass coach when it comes to this stuff. I’m like, “If you want to be a baby and pretend it’s going to work out for itself, good for you. I’m going to be over here prepared and living a nice retirement.”
I’m with you. Let’s talk about if people do want to do it. For me, it’s not a fun piece of my life. I do love talking about money. I’m Indian. We do that. That’s one of our things. It’s in our blood, but I don’t like budgeting. I don’t like all those things and yet, I’ve done it my entire life. It’s part of why I’ve had the success that I’ve had.
Not because I get to live this highfalutin lifestyle but because I’m paying attention to what I’m spending and how I’m spending it. I want to make sure that I’ve got more money to contribute each year to causes that I believe in. It’s not about what nice purse I can buy. It’s about who else can I help or how can I help my nephews, all three of them, with their different educations and those sorts of things.
That’s also some decisions about where you want to spend your money and why you want to make more money. I do still budget. I started at some point and I will admit, I don’t remember. Why don’t we talk about how you start creating a budget? What do you do? You talked about some software. Give us some tips on that.
I mentioned that I use Quicken. I’m not affiliated with Quicken or anything like that. I just like it. I think it’s the software that you can grow into. As you mentioned in the beginning, we owned a lot of real estates. I track all my real estate in there. I track all my brokerage accounts there. It’s all in one place. Even in my business, in which I’m a business consultant and fractional CFO, I organize my business all in this one place. It’s nice and convenient, but there are plenty of other options out there like Mint or Personal Capital. There’s a bunch.
The important thing is I don’t think you should do it in a spreadsheet or anything like that because it’s way too manual. With software, over time it gets easier. Spreadsheets don’t ever get easier because they can’t memorize anything for you. When it comes to budgeting, the truth is you could go out and set up a random budget for yourself, arbitrary or your best guess. That’s honestly not all that helpful. It’s nice to do a budget after you’ve done some tracking of your finances for a couple of months.
You see how much money you need to spend in order to live your life, then it’s a good time to be, “I see all the averages of what I spend over a few months.” You create a budget based on some data from your tracking. You look at it and go, “I spent $1,200 eating out last month. Maybe I could spend less there or I spent $2,000 on groceries,” or who knows? You can see some easy targets to maybe work on a little tightening of the belt. You have a budget on a column of what I spent in the last couple of months on a per-month basis, and this is what I’m going to try to do this month or the next month. I’m going to try to tighten the belt.
You only know if you achieved your belt-tightening goal if you track the finances and go, “I set out to only spend $800 eating out and I did it.” Not going out those three extra times made the difference. Back to the importance of the data, if you were a real-life business that had employees and people relying on you and all these things, you would pretty quickly see that having the data about what’s going on in your business is pretty much mission-critical.
Again, back to treating your life like a business. That’s the starting place for me, committing to that. Once you have your budget, I look at my budget every year. I put it in a spreadsheet. Every year, I look at what I did the year before. I pull a little report in Quicken. I put in some numbers and I go, “I pretty much stuck to what I thought or I spent more here.” I’ll copy and paste that and say, “I’m going to try to spend less on these things in the next twelve months.” I’ll maybe check on it through reporting in Quicken every 3 or 6 months or something like that.
You get so used to that thing that you know your spending habits. It’s like going to the gym. At first, you start with a trainer and they give you a plan. You don’t know what you’re doing, and then over time, it becomes second nature. You don’t even need a trainer anymore. It becomes part of your routine. You have to want to do it. Wanting to do it, for me, is like seeing a goal at the end of the road knowing where you’re heading, and understanding what doing all this work is going to get you to at some point in the future.
I agree with you on this. How does it help you emotionally? What does it do for you financially and emotionally? There’s a huge emotional impact on budgeting. There’s a huge emotional impact on not doing it. Let’s talk about that on both sides.
With the people I’ve coached and helped, I find that as you get older and it seems like when people get in their 40s and they haven’t been doing it, they start to panic a little bit. It’s like, “I think I should have been paying more attention to my finances because I’m getting tired. Now I have kids and college is coming up. I have no idea what’s going on if I’m going to be prepared for these big things.” I think it gives them a lot of stress and anxiety. It’s like a dark cloud hanging over your head.
For the people who embrace it that I’ve worked with, it tends to give them a greater sense of relaxation around money and knowing that they have control over it and they know what’s going on and all that. The flip side of knowing if you’re greatly underprepared is that sometimes people avoid this because they’re worried about what the results are going to tell them.
It’s going to show them that, “I don’t make enough money or I haven’t saved enough money or I am not prepared. I’m a little late in doing this.” That’s frightening. I feel for people in that situation, but the only way to be able to solve those problems is to get your head around them, and then take them on. Usually, what happens is people do realize after doing this that they need to make more money if they’re going to reach the goals that we set out.
I mentioned to you before we started that I have a course on all this called the Financial Independence Roadmap. In that course, I go through all these things I’m talking about. Mainly, we start by creating a destination. Where do you want to be eventually? Whether it be financial independence, retirement or whatever you want to call it. By what age and what do you want to be doing? We figure out how much money you’re going to need., and then we reverse-engineer it.
It’s like, “You’re going to need that much money, so you’re going to need to save this much for so many years. Whatever you save, you’re going to need to invest. It’s going to need to make this minimum return in order for the plan to come to fruition.” Usually, we look at that and people are like, “I need to save more, which means I need to make more money.” How do you do that? You either need to make more money in your job. Maybe you get into a side hustle thing. Maybe you convert from the work you do into doing it in a consulting capacity where you can charge more per hour and have more control over your time.
You need to essentially get entrepreneurial in your thinking about the revenue for the business of you. That’s the number one thing you should be spending your time on. Almost even more than the tracking, when you’re thinking about money. It’s how do I make more? The best defense as they say is a good offense. When it comes to financial planning, saving, and getting to your destination, the more you make, the easier it’s going to be.
I talk on my website about the three pillars of success. One is the personal finance pillar, which includes this tracking, budgeting, planning, and having a plan and a roadmap that I like to call it. One is the entrepreneurial pillar, which is being entrepreneurial. Either being entrepreneurial at work and focusing on getting more income at your job or improving your position at your work so you can make more. Maybe getting into a side hustle to make more money on the side. Maybe starting a business. Whatever that is, focus on the income piece of your life.
The third pillar, once you’re making more, then tracking your finances and saving more. You have to invest those savings in order for them to grow and multiply while you’re at work and/or sleeping. The vast majority of people are not going to save their way to financial independence. They have to save and invest and get a good return on their investments. That’s the third step. You got to get the first two in order first, get some savings going, and hopefully, you can put yourself a little bit into learning about investing and understanding the value of it.
For me, I enjoy that stuff. I would be researching it anyway. I guess I’m lucky in that sense, though I hate exercise, so I’m not lucky in that sense. Exercising for me is the worst. I hate it. I’m suffering from that syndrome, but I’m doing it anyway because I know it’s important. For me, the investing component has mostly been real estate up until now. In the past two years, I’ve been adjusting my portfolio to be a little less real estate-heavy and more market-heavy. For me, real estate produces superior returns for less risk overall.Real estate investing produces superior returns for less risk overall. Click To Tweet
The other thing about real estate is it’s a great hedge against inflation. One of the things that I’m noticing now is when David and I were young and perky, we are still perky, we started talking about planning for our future. We had a certain number in mind. The idea was we would have that much money. This is how a lot of young people think.
We have all this money and we can invest it and get 5% or 7%. In those days, you could even talk about 10% consistently. That’s how old I am. We would live off the interest and so we were never taking out the principal. If there were emergencies or anything like that, we could take out the principal. That was the way that we would sustain our life for the rest of our life. What we didn’t think about, we thought about it a little bit but didn’t calculate in, was inflation.
If we thought we needed $3 million back then, now it’s significantly a different number based on the lifestyle that we want to make. It’s not number centric. If we thought we needed $2 million, so we’d have $200,000 a year. That bought a particular lifestyle that now might take $500,000 a year or whatever. That’s an exaggeration. I don’t know what the numbers are, but you get the point. What was interesting is by design but by mistake, my dad taught me about real estate and so we jumped into real estate.
What happened was such an interesting thing. Because real estate is such a good hedge against inflation, our appreciation went faster than the inflationary numbers. Our values are growing. Rents are keeping up with inflation. Our increase in income is keeping up with inflation. I don’t need to ask anybody for a raise but myself. I ask myself for a raise each year and I get an inflationary raise, so I’m keeping up with inflation. My assets are growing faster than inflation. Now when we take a look at our inflation-adjusted numbers, even though they’re significantly higher, we are far ahead of them because of the real estate investments.
I know that sounds a little bit complicated. If you talk to Joe at some point, he can explain exactly how that works. Real estate is an incredible hedge as long as you buy it in the right locations. That’s important, and you do it the right way. Not all real estate is that way. With us getting hit in 2001 and 2008, we lost 20% once and 50% the second time. Even so, because of the locations and the decisions that we made, and because we were able to hold on, now our inflation-adjusted income is significantly different.
What’s interesting is if you look at that, my husband is a W-2. His money has increased significantly over the years, but it has not kept up with inflation. We can still only afford the same amount of mortgage in the house that we could afford twenty years ago because his income has not increased at the same rate of inflation. They get their cost of living increased by 3%. Inflation is closer to 8%. Our real estate has kept up with it but his income has not. There’s a lot to think about and it seems a little overwhelming.
I wanted to put those seeds in your mind as you’re thinking about this. Getting a coach to explain all of those pieces, they’ll get you started at the place where you can handle it because you don’t want to get overwhelmed in the very beginning. David and I didn’t. We just made some good choices based on advice from people that had made similar choices, and experience success in retirement. You want to have somebody that you can talk to about this stuff or tune in to this show and you’ll get it by osmosis. Those sorts of things are the things that you look at later. That’s why I advocate real estate investing. It’s that hedge that allows you to get to retirement. Do you agree with me on that?
I do. I think real estate does all the things that you said. As I mentioned, it does it for less risk for greater reward. I’ll stop there. I agree. I will say though about the coach thing, you can learn so much today from websites and podcasts and all that stuff. Your audience is here, so good for them. Where the coach helps you, you generally have to pay them, but they distill everything for you. You get it all in a condensed period of time and that’s worth a lot. Time is one of the most valuable things we have.
It’s something you can’t get back. You can always borrow more money. You can’t take back time.
You want to have more information about this stuff sooner because that information will affect your decision-making and the things you spend time on. You want to be looking at the right things, the most valuable things, spending time, and thinking about the right things. If you spend a little time with a coach earlier on, they’re going to hopefully, distill down for you the most important things to be thinking about and doing. You don’t have to listen to endless amounts of books and so on.
I’m a big advocate of mentorship. When you’re talking about budgeting and saving, compounding is the miracle of finance. The sooner you start and the sooner you can get that all distilled into a plan, the longer you have to benefit from simple compounding. It’s like the magic pill of finance.
People need to make time for this. Hopefully, in any couple, at least one of the people has an interest and/or understanding that paying attention to the finances is critical. In my family, that’s me. My wife focuses on other things like the health component. She’s always trying to get me to exercise. I take our budget over her and our spending and be like, “We spend a lot of money doing this. We should maybe think about that.” FYI, I’m not frugal at all. This is not about always being frugal. I like to spend money and travel and all that stuff, but I want to spend money on the things that are most important. Why waste money on things that aren’t that meaningful to you?
There are different ways to do things. My husband like to go out to eat and we love to travel. We used to go on dives. That was our adventure. We’d find a new dive for every date night. Now, we go to a nice sit-down white tablecloth type of restaurant. When we were broke and traveling, we would backpack and stay in youth hostels. We were in dorms with shared bathrooms, but we got to see the world.
Now, we get to stay in hotels or rooms for just the two of us. You can also choose those passions that you have. You can choose how you do it. You don’t have to eliminate all of these things. You can choose, “I’m going to still have this adventure. I’m going to still do these things that I love. I’m going to do it in this way now so that I have access to more later.”
For example, for me, I’m not into cars. I go to CarMax. I buy a three-year-old used car. We have a Pacifica minivan. I don’t care about cars, but I love traveling. In the summer, we were on a six-week trip from LA to Seattle to Michigan. It was amazing. No expense spared. That’s the place we like to spend our money. Traveling and cars are the same things. The money’s gone once you spend it.
It’s good if you can find or get into the hobby of investing in real estate. It’s a fun activity but those are assets that can produce income and wealth for you down the road. Traveling and cars are examples of things that can’t. You also want to have that balance too. Am I spending my money on things that are income-producing assets first? The stuff that’s more discretionary comes second. You know you’re prepared and have enough to spend there.
You retired early. Let’s talk about how that was possible and how people can get started, so the planning for retirement.
I semi-retired or downshifted from my extreme 50, 60 and 70-hour work week down to maybe 20 hours a week. The reason I call it that is because we have a certain amount of money for our investments. A certain amount of passive income, but it’s not enough to live the lifestyle we want. I don’t want to live a meager lifestyle so I cannot work. I like working. I just want to work less intensely and in a different way. I ended up starting this consulting thing.
We make a portion of our money from my consulting and a portion from our investments. That’s part of why I call it semi-retired. The other reason is that I’m also not concerned particularly about saving more money. Not that I don’t want to. I’m happy to. I’m paying attention to my finances just like I recommend everybody does. If we don’t save money or increase our “savings” in a year, I’m not worried about it.
We have enough where if it grows at a normal clip over the next twenty years, we’ll do full retirement and be set. That’s why I call it semi-retirement, to be clear. That’s how I think about it. How you get started is by doing all the things we were talking about. You have to start paying attention, planning and then doing the work. There is no way around it. The only way around it is to completely out-earn any need to do any of this. If you can do that, congratulations. You’re in a very small percentage of people in America.
Even those people have other things that we don’t know to think about. That’s interesting. I like to say becoming job optional rather than retiring. My branding, there’s been an awful lot about live your bliss, retire early. What I’m helping people to understand is retire early for me doesn’t mean that suddenly you quit everything you’re doing.
A lot of people love what they’re doing. They love their jobs or they love whatever they’re doing. A lot of people don’t. They want to spend more time giving back or spending more time with the children or whatever it is. We’re all over the map. For me, it’s about becoming job optional. What I like about what you’re saying is that being semi-retired is job optional. You could trim back and live on your retirement income, but you choose not to. You would rather grow that and continue to live a lifestyle that you enjoy.
When we talk about job optional, there are also different reasons for that. Either it’s the fulfillment or it gives me a little bit better lifestyle, and I want to continue to sustain that. When we get to that point where all of our needs are handled, and many of our wants are. For me, when I look at my number, it does include eating out and travel. It does include medical care. I’ve needed a lot of personal medical care because I’ve had some horrible car accidents.
I want the medical care I desire. I’m with Kaiser, but I pay for an osteopath. I pay for an acupuncturist. I pay for a physical therapist that’s not at Kaiser. Someone that I prefer. I will pay out of pocket to get the healthcare that I need and want. That’s going to increase over time as I get older. That’s not going to go down. That’s one of those expenses that will not go down. What are those things that we need to take care of? What are those things that we want to take care of? What’s the icing on top that makes life fun to live? You want to include all of those in that final number when you become job optional. What does that entail?
The job optional, AKA financial independence, in that course that I mentioned, we create a budget for you in the future. Where do you want to live? What do you see yourself doing? Are you working at all? Does that bother you? Do you want to be no work? You got to think about healthcare and all that stuff. We take what would be an annual figure that you’re going to need. We say, “How much of an investment pot will you need in order to produce that income from cashflow, interest, dividends, real estate cashflow or whatever it may be?
You’re not just saving a pot that you’re going to chip away at. You’re creating a pot of money that’s going to produce an evergreen stream of income. As you mentioned, one of the steps in this is to adjust that number for inflation twenty years from now. That can be a pretty scary step because when you adjust something for 3% or 4% or 5% inflation over 25 years. You’re like, “What? How am I going to come up with that?”
Those are the important moments to realize that’s what you’re up against, and how important it is to have a plan and be ready to deal with it. That’s why I say to everyone. If you have kids, you got to get to them early. The earlier your kids even think about this, it would affect which profession they might go into. I know it’s hard to have them make decisions about good financial sense. “Do you want to do that career? It doesn’t pay that much.” If you get them in the habit of looking at these things and understanding how it works, it could influence their decision-making process when they get to college and what they study and these things.
My kid is only seven, so there’s only so much you can do. We talk about investing a lot. I’m always talking about that and I like that stuff. I’m teaching him a little bit about that. He likes the idea that he could have a few dollars and invest it and it could magically turn into more dollars without him having to come back out in the backyard and help me build the back deck or whatever. He’s intrigued by that.
By the compounding aspect. It’s money magic.
The sooner you get to thinking about all this, the safer you’re going to be. Unfortunately, what happens is people don’t start thinking about it until they have kids. They’re getting a little behind the eight ball. College is coming. They’re getting tired of their job. All of a sudden, they’re like, “I get it now. I think I know what the whole retirement planning thing is about. I know that I’ve blown it off. Twenty years have gone by since I was 25 and I don’t know.” Usually, I get a lot of emails from those folks. They usually hear me on the podcast and they’re like, “I need help.”
There are things that you can do. Don’t fret.
There are. One other thing I recommend people do to get them enthusiastic about this process is to get a subscription to International Living Magazine. I’m not affiliated with it. I ran into it one day because before my wife and I semi-retired, we were thinking, “We might want to retire early. Where would we retire? Maybe we should buy some real estate in a town we think we might retire to. Who knows? It could work out.”
We went looking for the best places to retire or something. This is probably fifteen years ago. Up comes a bunch of these articles from International Living Magazine. It’s been around since the late ‘70s. The point of the magazine is to help people learn about places to retire outside the United States that are significantly cheaper. The reality is retiring in the United States is quite hard because the cost of living here is so high. That’s obviously why people move to places like Florida where there’s no state tax and whatever.
There are all these great international places even in Europe and South America where you can live on $2,000 a month. A nice lifestyle. Healthcare is super cheap and affordable and all this stuff. The people who end up researching this are in their 60s. They haven’t saved enough. They can’t work or don’t want to work. Your health can deteriorate on you unexpectedly.
It can happen on a dime.
They don’t have enough money to live a reasonable lifestyle in the States. This magazine is all about providing info, but it’s also a defacto and awesome travel magazine because these editors go travel all over. They learn about how much it costs to live here or there. They talk to expats. We’ve used it mostly as a travel magazine and we’ve gone to many destinations that sounded super cool in this magazine. It also puts in perspective what’s going to happen when you’re 65.
You read these people’s stories and they’re like, “I only had $200,000 saved. That’s not going to last me that long. I moved to Ecuador and I live on $1,500 a month. I exercise more. I shop at the local fresh market. I have an expat community. I’m so much happier than I was in Wisconsin.” You’re like, “This is interesting.”
One, it’s a fun motivational thing to think about traveling and maybe seeing some different places. Two, it also helps take the pressure off a little bit like, “If I don’t save enough or I’m close to retirement and I haven’t prepared, there are options. I could go live in Europe in some places for far less than I could live here and have an interesting life.”
There are a lot of inspirational stories there. It made a big impact honestly on our life. I would say to people, “Get a subscription.” It’s $40 a year or something like that. You get one magazine a month and it’s all sorts of dreamy inspiration. It helps you be motivated and put the whole retirement planning thing in perspective. That’s always one of my first recommendations to a coaching student. Get that magazine and everybody loves it. They’re always like, “It’s so much fun to read that.”
I love that. I’m going to go get that. Thank you. We’re running out of time. I want to talk about what you’re offering my audience as far as how can they get in touch with you. I want to let you know, ladies, that we’ve got a special website that you can go to so that you can get 10% off of whatever he’s selling and that sort of thing. It’s going to be BlissfulInvestor.com/roadmap, which will take you to Joe’s website. Tell us what they’re going to find when they go there.
We’re going to send people over to that course that I mentioned. It’s called the Financial Independence Roadmap. It’s a step-by-step condensed process. The value of paying a little bit for a course like this is that you get all the condensed steps. You don’t have to read a whole bunch of articles and put it all together yourself. In there, I walk you through the steps to think about the retirement thing and what you might need, calculate the numbers, and reverse engineer what you need to do to get there.
It includes some spreadsheets that I made for myself to do all this for my own benefit. It explains and walks you through the process. It’s all video-based too. I walk you through all my spreadsheets, show you how to use them, and explain what you’re looking at. I have a handful of videos and getting you started using Quicken if you want to get into that. It’s completely critical to success with this stuff.
I walk you through how to get that and set it up and get going. In the course, particularly with Quicken, you can have a starter template file to make it nice and organized. I provide my little template file so that you can start from there. It’s nice and organized. It matches up with my budget and it makes perfect sense.
You don’t have to go and customize all your categories and various things. If you’ve never done that, that probably sounds completely meaningless. If you get excited about this and you try to start using Quicken. You’re going to be like, “That is extremely helpful.” Usually, people sometimes buy the course for that because they want to use Quicken more, or they’re using it a little bit and need some help. They’re like, “I wanted the template file because I could see it would save a lot of time.” I think it’s pretty great. You can buy it and tell me what you think.
It sounds great to me too, which is why I’m so excited. I want to encourage people to go and get that. Go to BlissfulInvestor.com/roadmap. He’s got three courses that you’ll see on his website. If you want any of them, you can get 10% off on any of them. Use the code BLISS. We make it all uppercase. That sounds great. First of all, thank you for that. Thanks for the discount code. Thanks for talking about it. This has been an amazing conversation.
You’re welcome. I’m happy to be here.
Are you ready for our three rapid-fire questions?
Let’s do it.
Can you tell us one super tip on getting started investing in real estate?
Start looking. It depends on where people are. I think your first real estate investment very likely is you should be buying your own house. I consider your own house an investment. All of them have paid off handsomely for me. I do think if you’re going to treat your house like an investment, you got to look at it slightly differently. My tip to everyone who hasn’t bought a house is to start looking. Work with a realtor. You don’t have to buy anything right away. You can look for a year. Your realtor might end up getting a little disappointed with you if it goes on that long, but go get your feet wet. See what it’s like. Get your head in the game of that.When investing in real estate, just start looking. Work with a realtor, get your feet wet, and see what it's like. You don't have to buy anything right away. Click To Tweet
Even if you’re not ready now, it’ll help get you motivated and get you thinking, “I have to prepare. I have to be ready. I know what I’m up against and I’m going to execute it.” If you’re waiting and sitting on the sideline and saying to yourself, “I want to do that but I don’t know if I’m ready, so I’m going to wait until I’m ready to go look at it,” that’s a mistake. You got to sink yourself in and get your head in the real estate game as quickly as you can.
I love that. What is one strategy for being successful as a real estate investor?
Do the math. It’s not the only component of being successful in real estate or in business or in your personal life, but I do think you have to do the math on these things. Real estate is exciting. I know you always hear, “Half the billionaires in the world did it because of real estate.” That’s probably all true but they’re all smart. They all do the math. Not every real estate invests going to pay off. You can do the math on real estate and you can map it out for 30 years and see how it’s going to go under certain conditions.
Speaking of this, I have a course in real estate where I provide you with my spreadsheet of doing the math. It does exactly that. It shows you how your real estate would perform over 30 years. You can change the metrics on inflation. You can change the metrics on rental increase percentage and all these things. It auto-calculates and says, “If that was the reality, this would happen. If that was the reality, this would happen.” That’s another course I have and I walk you through all that but do the math.
You can get 10% off of that one too.
Do the math, know what you’re getting into, and execute the stuff that mathematically works.
What is one daily practice you would say, Joe, that contributes to your personal success?
It depends on the day. Some things that have contributed to my success are I personally am a little bit OCD. I’ve put that to work for myself. Once I start on something, it’s hard for me to stop. I get invested. I do a lot of research. I get pumped about learning and getting stuff done. I can’t, in some ways, take credit for that because my mind and body take over luckily and it works for me.
Something that I work on though more deliberately is being positive. I find that being positive is so critical in life to one being happy, but the more positive and happy you are, the more things you’re going to try. The more people you’re going to talk to. The more everything that you’re going to soak in from life. Positivity improves your success. It does give you a greater chance of being successful for all those things I mentioned.
I do this gratitude journal because I took this little course in Insight Timer about cultivating happiness. That’s been good. Every night, I write three things that I was grateful for the day and try to keep myself in a positive mind frame as much as I can. I can’t say that I’m in a positive mind frame every day. I’m human but I’m trying. It takes effort.
It does take effort. It doesn’t just happen for sure. I loved this conversation, Joe. Thank you so much.
It was nice to talk with you. I appreciate it.
Thank you. Ladies, thank you for joining Joe and me for this portion of the show. We appreciate you and look forward to seeing you next time. Until then, remember, goals without action are just dreams, so get out there, take action, and create the life your heart deeply desires. I’ll talk to you soon. Bye.
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Moneeka Sawyer is often described as one of the most blissful people you will ever meet. She has been investing in Real Estate for over 20 years, so has been through all the different cycles of the market. Still, she has turned $10,000 into over $5,000,000, working only 5-10 hours per MONTH with very little stress.
While building her multi-million dollar business, she has traveled to over 55 countries, dances every single day, supports causes that are important to her, and spends lots of time with her husband of over 20 years.
She is the international best-selling author of the multiple award-winning books “Choose Bliss: The Power and Practice of Joy and Contentment” and “Real Estate Investing for Women: Expert Conversations to Increase Wealth and Happiness the Blissful Way.”
Moneeka has been featured on stages including Carnegie Hall and Nasdaq, radio, podcasts such as Achieve Your Goals with Hal Elrod, and TV stations including ABC, CBS, FOX, and the CW, impacting over 150 million people.