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Real and uncensored. Hosts Paula Pant and J. Money dive into chasing the dream and creating financial independence. They rap about net worth, investing, real estate, killing debt, budgeting, business, entrepreneurship, saving money and how to be a hustler. Grab a beer, put your spreadsheets away, and get ready to retire early.


#082: Ask Paula - How Do You Pick a Rental Property?  

Welcome to another Ask Paula episode!

This week, I answer three real estate questions:

#1: What criteria do you use when you’re shopping for an investment property? What qualities make you say, “heck yeah I’m buying this!!” — and what qualities make you say, “No way!”

#2: I enjoy renting my personal home, but I still dream of investing in rental properties. Does it make sense to buy a rental property, even while I’m still a renter myself?

#3: I’m a 45-year-old actress, and my income probably won’t qualify me for conventional bank financing for an investment property. But I already own a property with a lot of equity. Should I tap that in order to buy another rental? Or look for a private loan?



For more Ask Paula episodes, visit http://podcast.affordanything.com/tag/ask-paula

Want your question answered? Leave a message here: http://www.affordanything.com/voicemail 

#081: Get Me Out of This Crappy Job! - with Jenny Blake, author of Pivot  

Jenny Blake used to have an enviable job.

As a Career Development manager at Google, she enjoyed the perks of a Silicon Valley life, plus the satisfaction of helping people everyday. She co-founded Google's Career Guru Program, and helped countless Google employees find their right career "fit."

But, ironically, Blake sensed that her own career wasn't on the right track.

So she took a brave plunge that few would dare: Blake quit Google, packed her bags, and moved from California to New York in search of a new life. She launched her own business. She began publishing books.

Today, she joins us on this podcast to share the knowledge she's accumulated over many years about how *anyone* can pivot into a new career or direction.

If you're feeling stuck in your job, and you're thinking about making a major life change -- regardless of whether you'd like to try a new industry, retire early, or start your own business -- you might want to hear some of Blake's advice.



#080: Joe Says Life Insurance Won’t Make the Headline. But it Did.  

Chris, age 30, makes $200,000 per year and saves 50 percent of his income. What accounts should he use in order to maximize his tax benefits?

Dee, age 39, is getting tired of apartment living. She found a great neighborhood in which she'd like to own a home, and she's saving for a 20 percent downpayment. But she's nervous about the high cost of home maintenance. How can she deal with this?

Chelsea just moved into a new house with her husband. He purchased the house outright, in cash, and she wants to pay him so that she can share in the home's ownership and equity. But she also has student loan and credit card debt. Should she make progress towards all three of these goals (build equity, pay off  student loans, pay off credit cards) at the same time? Or should she prioritize one -- and if so, which one?

Charlene is curious: what's so great about Vanguard? Why do Joe and I like the Vanguard Target Date funds so much, as compared to funds from another brokerage? (Note: neither of us have any financial relationship with Vanguard, other than being an ordinary, run-of-the-mill customer.)

Alma is looking for a term life insurance policy that'll protect her if she passes away outside of the United States. Where and how can she find this?

My friend Joe Saul-Sehy, a former financial planner and host of the award-winning Stacking Benjamins podcast, joins me today while we tackle these 5 questions ... and somehow, also we go on a tangent about Burger King. It's a whopper of an episode. :-)


More Ask Paula episodes can be found at http://podcast.affordanything.com/tag/ask-paula

#079: How I Bootstrapped a $4 Million Company, with Laura Roeder  

When Laura Roeder was 22, she quit her job to become a full-time freelancer.

She earned $30,000 in her first year as a freelancer; $60,000 in her second year.

Ten years later -- (Laura is now 32) -- her company earns $4 million in annual revenue.

(Can I repeat that? Did I bury the lede? *Laura went from making $30,000 per year to owning 100% of a company that earns $4 million per year.* And she did this within a decade. Oh, and she also had a baby.)

(Like, whoa.)

Laura is the founder and CEO of a software company called Edgar, which provides social media automation for entrepreneurs and small businesses.

In this interview, I ask Laura (sophisticated) questions such as "How the f**k did you make the leap from freelancer to multi-million-dollar company owner?"

Here are some of the insights that she shares:

#1: You have nothing to lose.

When Laura quit her job, she conquered her fears by reminding herself: "Hey, worst-case-scenario, I work an hourly retail job for awhile if I can't find any clients."

Sure, that might suck. But is the worst-case-scenario *so bad* that it's a deal-breaker?

When Laura realized that the worst-case-scenario was something that she could live with, she proceeded full-speed ahead.

#2: Cut the cord.

When Laura transitioned from freelancing to consulting (her intermediate step before starting Edgar), she knew that if she maintained her client base, she wouldn't be motivated to grow her consulting business.

So she cut the cord. She dropped all of her clients, including one extremely lucrative contract, in order to motivate herself.

#3: Look for what's next.

Laura's transition follows a sensible narrative arc: employee, freelancer, consultant, software company founder.

Each step led to the next opportunity. Freelancing turned into consulting, which turned into a kernel of an idea for a software  company.

She couldn't have predicted, at age 22, where she'd be in 10 years. She simply proceeded one step at a time.


Listen to Laura describe her story -- and share advice for people who want to start companies and/or work remotely -- in today's episode.

#078: Ask Paula (and Will) - How Technology is Changing the Future of Real Estate Investing  

Imagine that you're looking for a rental property. It's a warm Saturday afternoon, and you decide to cruise through a few open houses in the area.

Your autonomously-driving electric vehicle pulls into the driveway. Your wifi-enabled contact lenses automatically register the property's details: square footage, year of construction, sales history, tax assessment, price-to-rent ratio, average neighborhood occupancy rates, and multiple cap rate estimates. As you walk through the property, your contact lenses display the digital history of every item -- the furnace, dishwasher, windows -- keeping you up-to-date with the full installation and service history of every home component.

Welcome to the future of real estate investing.

What's looming on the horizon? How will technology -- including augmented reality and 3D printing -- affect the way we analyze and purchase rental properties?

I chat about this topic, and more, in today's podcast episode.

This week, I feature another Ask Paula episode, answering questions that this community has submitted. This week's theme is real estate, and I've invited Will to join me as we tackle your questions about rental investing.


For more resources, visit the website at http://affordanything.com/episode78

#076: Ask Paula - How to Handle an Inheritance, Should I Invest in Properties or Start a Business, and More.  

This week, my buddy Joe Saul-Sehy joins me to answer another round of listener-submitted questions.

A listener from California asks:
My husband and I will be inheriting money, which we plan to invest in index funds. We believe that our inheritance will eventually make us financially independent. However, I feel guilt about the fact that this money is unearned. Do you have any thoughts on this?

Eric wants to know: Should he stick with a high-deductible health insurance plan if he's starting a family?
Hailey says:
I just graduated from college; I'm making $30,000 per year, but I only work 30 hours per week, so I have time to work on side projects. I'm working on two small businesses, and also interested in buying a rental property. Where should I focus my time and dollars?


For links and information to the resources mentioned, like Glassdoor.com, Salary.com, and Paula's article: Should You Pay Cash for a Car? -- visit http://affordanything.com/episode76

#075: Jen Sincero says she used to be a "grouchy broke person”  

In her early 40's, Jen lived in a converted garage, buried in credit card debt and scrounging for spare change. She was the type of person who'd join her friends at a restaurant for dinner , order nothing except tap water, and fill up on the complimentary bread basket. She used duct-tape to repair her shoes. Her "splurges" consisted of buying new windshield wipers.  

Despite her struggles, Jen believed that pursuing wealth was icky. She'd internalized negative social attitudes towards money, such as:

Money isn't important. People are.

Rich people are lucky / gross / shallow.

You can't make money doing [insert your-dream-here].

You have to attend a good college to make money.

Money is out of my reach.

It's lonely at the top.

Who has that kind of money?

He/she is only about the money.

Those negative attitudes, Jen says, were holding her back. So she created a more positive script -- such as "I'm good at making money," and "Money is a tool that helps me live my best life."

This attitude shift made all the difference.

In today's interview, Jen describes her journey from broke to badass, and she explains how everyone can become more of a maverick at making money.


Resources mentioned in this episode can be found at http://affordanything.com/episode75


#074: Ask Paula - How to Repay $50k in Student Loans on a $31k Income, What's the Deal with Bonds, and Do I Really Need Insurance  

Former financial planner and friend of the show, Joe Saul-Sehy from Stacking Benjamins, joins me to answer the following listener questions:

Kicking off today's episode, Nicky asks:

I'm young and healthy. My car is old and not-worth-much. And my personal property isn't exactly fancy-pants.

Do I *really* need health, auto and property insurance? Or can I drop these insurances and save the money?


Next, Shelbi says:

I'm 26, recently earned a graduate school diploma, and I'm taking the first steps into my career.

I take home $2,600 in monthly income, and my cost-of-living is $1,900 per month.

I maintain a $5,500 emergency fund and invest 20% of my income into a Vanguard Target Date Retirement account, with a Roth tax setup. I'll get an employer match after I've spent another year on the job. My employer also contributes $100 per month into my H.S.A. account, which is the only money that I'm putting into that fund.

I hold $49,000 in student loans (yikes!!) at 6.8% interest. I pay $400/mo towards this debt, which is included in my $1,900 cost-of-living and is more than the minimum required.

My goal is financial independence and early retirement.

She asks these three questions:

-- Should she lower the 20% she's putting into her 403b in order to max out her Roth IRA and HSA, instead?

-- Should she prioritize repaying her student loan debt over retirement savings?

-- Should she schedule a private coaching call with me? (Surprisingly, I said no. Tune into the episode to find out why.)


Next, Nicole asks:

What types of investments can you hold inside a self-directed IRA? If I open one of these accounts, what custodian should I use?


Finally, our friend anonymous asks:

What's the deal with bond investing? What's a coupon payment? A maturity date? WTF? Can you help me make sense of the world of bonds and bond funds?


Joe and I tackle these four questions ... plus reveal a top-secret recipe for the Best. Oreo. Cookie. Dessert. EVER.

Like, *ever.*


-- Paula


Resources Mentioned:

Interview with Andrew Hallam, the man who became a millionaire on a teacher's salary: Here's Part 1 and Part 2.

Want to hear your voice on an upcoming episode? Leave your question at http://affordanything.com/voicemail


Who are you? Please take this 7-question survey: http://affordanything.com/whoareyou

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

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


#072: Ask Paula -- Should I Loan Money to Friends? Stay Sane While Repaying Debt? ... and More  

Spaghetti is a major part of my life.

I eat it, of course, as many people do. I also spill it all over my pants, despite the fact that I’m 33 and should’ve learned the rules of gravity by now.

But most importantly, I use spaghetti as a metaphor for my business. If I’m not sure if something will work or not, but I want to experiment with an idea, I tell myself that I’m just “throwing spaghetti at the wall.” Maybe it’ll stick; maybe it won’t. Either way, I have permission to try, permission to fail, and permission to get pasta stains all over my drywall.

This week, I’m starting a new spaghetti-throwing-experiment on the podcast: I’m going to broadcast “Ask Paula” episodes every-other-week, followed by interviews with guests every-other-week. This allows me to handle the awesome volume of questions that are flowing in (which I LOVE), while still enjoying intriguing conversations with fascinating people.

This every-other-week thing is just an experiment; I’d love to hear what you think. Do you want more “Ask Paula” episodes? Or should I return that segment back to its original once-a-month placement? Or am I overthinking this and I should really just get on with the show notes for this week’s episode?

Assuming you’re like, “Option C, Paula — get on with the show notes!,” here they are.


Our first question comes from David, who asks: Could you ever find yourself in a situation in which you could justify helping a friend by paying off their credit card, and in exchange, they pay you a modest but respectable interest rate?

Here’s his situation:

His friend holds $6,000 in credit card debt, with carries an interest rate ranging between 11 to 17 percent. This friend also holds $30,000 in student loans. Yikes!

David, however, is debt-free, maxes out his retirement accounts, and holds cash savings of $56,000. He’s thinking of loaning his friend around $3,000 of this money, which she could use to pay off the 17 percent loan. In exchange, David would get a decent-but-not-outrageous return, perhaps in the neighborhood of 7 percent-ish.

Should he do this? If so, how? Should he sit down with a lawyer?

Next, Amy asks:
We’re carrying debt, although fortunately it's low-interest. We're paying it off, and we're doing the best we can; this debt will be gone in a few years. How do you stay patient and calm, when progress is happening at a snail's pace?

Later, Alexa says:
I’ve realized that I haven’t followed my true passions, which are travel and dance. I’d like to save money for a few years, and then pursue these twin goals. What should I do with the money that I’m saving for travel? Should I keep it liquid or in stocks? Should I put it in a taxable account or a retirement account?

Lyra asks:
I have 5 goals: repay debt, save an emergency fund, help my son pay for college, save for retirement, and buy a rental property. How do I split my money between these five goals?

Next, Kim asks:
What are the pro's and con's of portfolio lending for an investment property? I keep getting hung up on the "balloon payment," in which you need to repay the full loan after a particular period of time. How would you qualify for a refinance, given that you need a portfolio loan in the first place?

Finally, Daan wants to know:
I’m a Dutch citizen who moves to a different country every 2-3 years. Is real estate a viable option for me?

#071: Can I Retire Yet? - with Roger Whitney, the Retirement Answerman  

Roger Whitney is known as the "retirement answer man."

"All I think about, all day long, is how to make that [retirement] transition successfully," he says.

But he holds a dirty little secret.

"I don't believe in retirement. And the most successful clients that I work with ... technically they're retired, but they're still working."


What does that mean?

In today's episode, Whitney and I discuss the nuances of 21st-century modern retirement -- and how this ain't nothin' like the traditional retirement that you've been taught to expect.



For the "WTF?" -- Vocabulary guide from this episode - visit http://affordanything.com/episode71


#070: Erin Lowry on Raising Children Who Are Enabled, Not Entitled  

Erin Lowry shares some entertaining money stories from when she was growing up and why she needs to become a millionaire 7 years prior to the age her dad achieved the same thing. Hint: She adjusts for inflation :)

Visit the show notes at http://affordanything.com/episode70


#069: Ask Paula - The Real Estate Edition  

So many Afford Anything listeners have great questions about real estate investing. That's why this episode of Ask Paula is dedicated to answering them.

Our first question comes from Ade, who has $25,000 to invest in real estate and lives in the Bay Area. Understandably, he's thinking of investing out-of-state, and wants to know if Atlanta is still a good city to invest in. Where can the best deals be found?

Krystina lives and has four rentals in Vermont, but she's sick of the cold. She's thinking of selling the properties and moving elsewhere. She asks: if you had to start over, where would you buy and what type of property would you buy?

The next question comes from Kayla, who wants to know how to report rental income on your taxes when you also live in the property. Are there any tax implications to be aware of?

Claire is relocating to California, and is curious to know if she's better off renting, or if she should max out her mortgage loan potential and buy a house that has a detached garage she can rent out to cover the increased mortgage.

Our next question comes from a listener with a paid-off rental who also has an Airbnb on her property. Nice! But, she has a $160,000 mortgage on her own house. She has $30,000 in the bank and wants to know: should she put it toward her mortgage, or use it to buy another property?

Our last question comes from Katie, who's eyeing a vacation rental in one of her favorite destinations. Does it sound like a good idea? And how can she estimate the cap rate (and her expenses) without a ton of information on the property?

We dive into these topics - and more - in today's episode. Enjoy!

To be included in Paula's Real Estate Course, click on the link in the show notes at http://affordanything.com/episode69


#068: Ask Paula - How to Invest Your Tax Refund, Save for College, and Avoid Massive Pitfalls  

My buddy Joe Saul-Sehy, host of the Stacking Benjamins podcast, joins me this week for another episode of "Ask Paula (and Joe!)" -- in which we workshop through questions that came from you, the Afford Anything community.

This week, Joe and I answer questions such as:

- I'm getting a $2,500 tax refund. Should I use this to invest, repay debt, or upgrade my home?
- I'm debt-free (except a reasonable mortgage) and maxing out my retirement accounts. What else should I be doing?
- I've started savings accounts for my two daughters, ages 3 and 6, so that they can access this money for big-ticket expenses when they're young adults. How should I invest this money?
- I'm interested in socially responsible investing. What specific funds should I look at?
- What's your opinion of high-dividend ETFs?
- What's your opinion of using whole life insurance as a 'creative' wealth-building strategy?


-- Paula

P.S. If you'd like to ask a question for a future episode, leave a voicemail here.

#067: Ask Paula -- How to Care for Aging Parents, Buy a Car, and Organize a Business  

It's the first Monday of the month, which means it's time to answer questions from the Afford Anything community.

Our first question comes from a caller in a tough spot: Her mother-in-law is 66 years old. She's divorced, holds no retirement savings, and will only receive a tiny Social Security check. Her health is worsening, and she'll need to step away from work shortly. The caller wants to help her mother-in-law ... but how?

Our second question comes from Erin, a listener who's moving to California and needs to buy a car. She's new to the world of car-buying, and wants to know how she can get a great deal. What red flags should she watch out for?

Our third question comes from Hong, a 32-year-old mother of two who's interested in early retirement. She's thinking about saving money in a 401k until she maximizes her employer match, then switching to a Traditional IRA, and then switching back to saving in her 401k. Should she pursue this strategy? How can she maximize her tax advantages?

Our fourth question comes from John, who wants to know what I've learned from building an online course. He's contemplating creating one of his own.

Finally, I answer a question from Adalia, who wants to know if my online business and real estate business are structured as part of the same company, or operated as two separate entities. She asks if I can talk about how I made my business structuring decisions.

Have a question? Record it from your smartphone or computer. Go to http://affordanything.com/voicemail and leave a short message.

#066: Take Radical Responsibility for Your Life -- a Breakfast Chat with 26-Year-Old Millionaire Emma Pattee  

You know that rare moment when you meet someone with whom you connect *instantly*?

I felt that way when I met Emma Pattee, the 26-year-old millionaire and mini-real-estate-mogul who joins me on today's episode.

Emma and I share similar stories: we're both young female artists and entrepreneurs who figured out that wealth is a tool for creating the freedom that allows us to live on our own terms.

We both hustled harder than words can describe, living and breathing our commitment to breaking free from the trading-time-for-money cycle. We refused to accept the defaults that were handed to us. We viewed our investments as a way to create a more sustainable, meaningful life.

We rejected the limiting belief that a creative, meaningful life is somehow more 'pure' when it's lived in scarcity and deprivation. We embraced abundance. We asked "how can I create this?" We viewed every problem as inherently solve-able. We took responsibility for everything that crossed our paths.

Most critically, we decided that we weren't going to let any excuses hold us back.

We accepted radical responsibility for our own lives. We wouldn't allow ourselves to get trapped in a victim mindset, a comparison ("they-have-it-easier!") mindset, or an external-factors-are-holding-me-back mindset.

I rarely meet people who have committed to the inner work of internalizing these lessons. Emma is one of those rare people.

And that's why I'm excited to share our breakfast conversation with you.

I hope you enjoy this episode. And to paraphrase Seth Godin, more importantly, I hope this episode spurs you to take action.

Lots of love,


#065: How to Improve Your Relationship with Money  

I've always taken an approach to life that puts my freedom first.  My one and only 9-5 lasted only 3 years. Since then I've been self employed and built financial independence through rental real estate.

And while most see this podcast as being about money, it's really about a philosophy around life that is disguised as a finance blog and podcast.

Today I get real about this whole money thing. I hope you follow along the mental journey with me.

#064: Michael Kitces -- Your Mind is More Powerful Than Money  

Your potential is unlimited.

I realize that's the type of cliche that you normally find embossed in cursive script on the side of coffee mugs. It's trite and impersonal and overused.

But it's also true.

Your potential to earn and grow is limitless. But it's not free. You need to invest time and money into developing your potential.

Your time and money are limited, though, and you could also choose to invest in market-based assets, like stocks, bonds or real estate.

How do you make that decision?

Are you going to invest in yourself? Or the market? Or both -- and in what proportion?

How do you make these choices?

When you're buying a few shares of a total stock market index fund, you have a generally clear idea of what you're getting. You've seen the historic returns. You can predict, to a reasonable degree, the consequences of that investment over a multi-decade span.

But when you're investing in yourself -- e.g. learning a new skill, developing a side business, or taking a class -- you can't rely on the same formulas or models. There's no chart mapping the historic returns.

Financial capital is easy to track. Human capital is harder to quantify -- but potentially more rewarding.

Can you compare investing in assets vs. investing in yourself?

How can you make a smarter decision about your own path?

On today's podcast, I talk to Michael Kitces -- a financial planner, entrepreneur, and all-around smart guy -- about this million-dollar decision.

Find more helpful information at http://affordanything.com/episode64


#63: Ask Paula - Travel vs. Passive Income, Proximity in Real Estate Investing and Selling Off Properties  

It's the first Monday of the month, and you know what that means - another Ask Paula episode.

Our first question comes from Richard, who wants to know if he should focus on creating a travel fund or building passive income through real estate.

What did I do, and how did I manage to come back from my world travels and start building a real estate portfolio only a few years later?

The next question comes from Andrew. He's contemplating purchasing two houses on the cul-de-sac he lives on and then renting them out. He only plans on living in his current house for another five years, at which time he also wants to rent it out. Is he crazy? Would proximity give him an advantage?

Jennifer asks the next question. She and her husband owe $150,000 on a rental property in Portland, OR that's worth $350,000. Should they sell the house and buy more properties? What would I do with the equity in the property?

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