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Wealth by Design
4 minutes | 2 months ago
MINISODE: Hurricane Hiatus - An Update on the Wealth by Design Podcast
Hello, loyal listeners! We wanted to let you know that we have a quick update on the podcast and a few things that are happening over at Toujours Planning right now. As you may know, we are a Lake Charles-based business and family, and our community, homes, and offices were devastated by Hurricane Laura in August. While we work to rebuild our community and also weather other storms that have come through the area, we are taking a break from the Wealth by Design podcast. We do not know how long it will take to return to “normal,” whatever that means. In the meantime, we ask that willing listeners of the podcast donate to Lake Charles and Louisiana recovery efforts. We are personally supporting the Community Foundation of Southwest Louisiana, an organization that has helped care for people who’ve lost their homes and livelihoods, as well as get our community up and running again. If you are able and interested, please donate here: https://www.foundationswla.org/ In the meantime, we thank you for being a listener of the Wealth by Design podcast, and we hope to be back on the airwaves soon! LINK TO DONATE: https://www.foundationswla.org/ CONNECT WITH DANIELLE AND DUSTIN Ask Your Questions On Facebook On Twitter See you in 2021!
5 minutes | 2 months ago
MINISODE: Do You Need a Financial Advisor or a Certified Financial Planner™?
When you decide to get your financial ducks in a row, you probably start to look for help with a good old Google search. But when you look up “financial advisor,” “financial planner,” “planning for retirement” or any variation of your financial needs… you might get confused. Quickly. Why? Because there are so many titles for financial professionals out there. Do you need a financial planner? A financial advisor? An investment professional? A money coach? And what are those initials after their names?! In this minisode, Dustin briefly describes the different types of financial professionals and designations you may see and explains when you’ll want to call a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional. WHAT YOU’LL LEARN The different titles of financial professionals The designations and licenses that financial advisors may have What a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional does How a CFP® can help you The three Es of the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ designation Watch this week’s episode: https://youtu.be/3UQ7soViuUg Want more quick tips like this? Make sure you’re subscribed to the Wealth by Design podcast! This material is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. RESOURCES & PEOPLE MENTIONED How to choose which financial professional you need: Episode 015 Sign up for our free Know Your Numbers challenge! Check out our DIY Financial Planning Course Our YouTube Channel Schedule a free call with us — Are we a good fit for your financial planning needs? CONNECT WITH DANIELLE AND DUSTIN Ask Your Questions On Facebook On Twitter
31 minutes | 3 months ago
115: How You Spend and Invest Your Money Matters
When you think about buying something — a plain ol’ shirt, for example — what’s your thought process? How do you decide what shirt to buy? Maybe you think, “I don’t want to spend over $20 on this shirt.” Or, “I need it fast, so I need to buy it online from a store that offers free two-day shipping.” How often are you thinking, “I need a shirt that’s sustainably and responsibly made from a locally owned clothing boutique”? This is an example of using your money to make an impact. Every purchase you make has a ripple effect. That’s why it’s important to understand that impact. In our newest episode, Dustin and Joseph discuss the idea of “voting with your dollars” — what it means and how you can start practicing it through spending and investing. WHAT YOU’LL LEARN [02:17] What “voting with your dollars” means [05:05] Changing our spending habits [09:22] The draw of cheapness and convenience [12:10] What makes a monopoly? [14:20] A tip for buying clothes (and really, anything) [16:09] Why we just “buy a new one” [18:30] ESG investing [25:27] It goes both ways: voting affects your money too Cheapness and Convenience Let’s go back to our hypothetical shirt situation. We buy the shirt from Amazon because it costs ten bucks and it’ll arrive tomorrow. With that purchase, whether consciously or not, we’re choosing to support a big corporation over our local clothing shop down the street. A big corporation that doesn’t even need your business. Meanwhile, mom-and-pops go to great lengths to compete with giant companies like Amazon, for example. They’ll match the price, even if they have to show a loss. They just want your business. Sad, right? The truth is, though, that we are choosing to ignore how that shirt from Amazon is made; many workers in the fashion and textile industry suffer from labor abuse and unethical practices. (Just listen to Episode 80 with Stephanie Hepburn to learn more.) We’re not trying to guilt trip you, promise. This is just to illustrate the fact that, in our culture, cheapness and convenience often motivate our decisions to buy stuff. If you want to start spending your money differently, you have to be more mindful of what you’re buying. Changing our Buying Behavior How do we start changing the way we make purchases? Think of everything as an investment. This quick little thought process can help us buy quality clothing over fast fashion. An electric car vs a gas car. Organic food instead of cheap, unhealthy food. It can even influence how we buy replacements for things we already have, like a busted TV or a phone. Decades ago, we’d hire someone, maybe a local handyman or specialist, to repair a broken device. Not anymore. It’s usually quicker, and costs you less money and less time and stress, to just ‘buy a new one’ of something. Cheapness and convenience strike again. We may understand the factors influencing our purchases, but that doesn’t make it any easier to change. As Joseph put it: “We’re less likely to change our behavior because, ‘well, I already paid for the Prime membership this year, so…’” But we can change for the better. We Can Do Better It’s not all doom-and-gloom, folks. You can begin investing and spending your money the way that you want. Change takes time, so you shouldn’t expect to get rid of any bad spending habits all at once. One thing you can do is be more selective of the businesses and organizations you support with your dollars. Research companies before you buy from them. Practice ESG (environmental, social, and governance) investing. You can invest in “regular” stocks, watch your wealth grow, and see businesses change in response to their shareholders’ behavior. Or, you can focus on “impact investing,” where companies address certain social or environmental needs through special stocks or funds. Either way, ESG investing isn’t that hard. And the benefits are two-fold: you can grow your wealth and know that your money is supporting your values. Change can happen, but it has to start within each of us. As Dustin put it: It’s not always just about profit, cheapness, and convenience. We can live in the world that we want. But we have to change the way we spend our money, how we outline our budgets, and the way we invest. This material is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. RESOURCES & PEOPLE MENTIONED Buy n Large, and how our society is like the one in WALL-E Quick history lesson on trusts and Teddy Roosevelt Sustainable Fashion & Social Good with Stephanie Hepburn: Episode 80 Build Wealth and Make an Impact with ESG Investing: Episode 76 The Volkswagen emissions scandal on Dirty Money Check out our new program, Wealth by Design™ DIY! Join the Know Your Numbers challenge Schedule a free call with us — Are we a good fit for your financial planning needs? CONNECT WITH DANIELLE AND DUSTIN Ask Your Questions On Facebook On Twitter Danielle’s Instagram
5 minutes | 3 months ago
MINISODE: Are You Falling into This Stock Market Trap?
Sir John Templeton, an American-born British investor, banker, fund manager, and philanthropist, said this on investing: “Bull markets are born on pessimism, grown on skepticism, mature on optimism, and die on euphoria.” He was named “the greatest global stock picker of the century” by Money in the 1990s, so we’re inclined to listen to his advice. In this new minisode, Dustin breaks down each part of Sir Templeton’s quote. He also discusses timing the stock market, why it’s a bad idea, and what you should do instead. WHAT YOU’LL LEARN The “stock market trap” How fear clouds our judgment ...and greed affects it, too Pick a strategy and stick with it for awhile This material is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. RESOURCES & PEOPLE MENTIONED More on fear and greed in investing in Episode 104 More on timing the market in Episode 107 Check out our new program, Wealth by Design™ DIY! Join the Know Your Numbers challenge Schedule a free call with us — Are we a good fit for your financial planning needs? CONNECT WITH DANIELLE AND DUSTIN Ask Your Questions On Facebook On Twitter
30 minutes | 3 months ago
114: Your Money & the Federal Reserve Currency System
We often think of “money” as a stack of bills with a bunch of dead presidents on them, right? That’s money as a concept. But when was the last time you carried cash on you? If you don’t see it or touch it, does it actually exist? Yes. And no. Maybe? Dustin and Joseph do a deep dive into the concept of money in our latest episode. They also cover how financial systems evolved from thousands of years ago into what it is now to support a global economy. Tune in to learn about the power of money, how it can be used as a weapon, and how the world seems to revolve around the American dollar. WHAT YOU’LL LEARN [03:41] What the heck even is money? [04:39] The early barter system [07:33] Money is based on our shared beliefs [09:39] Why the American dollar is the currency of power [11:40] An example of how the reserve currency system works [1:530] The alternative to a global economy [18:09] Power (and consequences) of printing money [21:35] The weaponization of finance [24:50] Trust the system What is money? So, is money real or not? If we only see numbers on a statement or on a banking app, that’s not really money… is it? This is where Dustin and Joseph have a bit of a back and forth about what money is and what it means. As Dustin says, you may not be physically handling money, but it still exists. Dollar bills don’t actually have intrinsic value. What they do is represent our money system. They hold value because we all agree that they do. We’ve evolved into this system using paper money because… well, our previous barter system wasn’t really built to last, nor was it the most efficient. People in ancient civilizations used to trade livestock for building materials, or one food for other types of food, for example. Instead of “carrying all your commodities around with you,” as Joseph put it, we turned to trading precious metals, coins, and eventually, bits of paper. And over hundreds of thousands of years, we’ve continued evolving into our current system, where the American dollar is used around the world. The reserve currency system and a global economy America is what’s called the “reserve currency,” which means that basically the entire world revolves around one dollar. Our dollar. This reserve currency system supports a global economy. Dustin further explained it in this way: imagine that someone in one country wants to buy a product from another country. Both countries, however, use a different currency. What’s the point of selling that product if you can’t use the money you’d receive? Think of the United States as the middleman in this situation. We’d buy the product from one country and sell it to the other. Because the American dollar is the single currency used for exchange, we allow the global economy to keep going. Having that power is one of the perks to the reserve currency system, but it’s also a burden. That’s why you hear about America being in debt to so many nations in the news. But the alternative is: we go back a thousand years to how it was before a global economy, or someone else has to be the reserve currency instead of us. What’s the alternative? Understandably, the idea of having only a few entities with so much power can make many feel uneasy. Dustin points out though, that this system we have has been adjusted and tweaked over thousands and thousands of years. Something about the system is working, because it hasn’t all crashed and burned just yet. If you’re not down with this global financial system, there aren’t very many alternative options for you to explore, unless you want to join a hippie community in India that uses a barter system instead. (Thank you for pointing this out to us, Joseph. Link is in the show notes, if you’re curious.) The best thing to do is accept and trust how money works in our world today. And you can learn how to make the system work to your advantage from financial planners like us. This material is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. RESOURCES & PEOPLE MENTIONED The National Debt, Visualized Go back to the barter system in this hippie community in Goa, India Check out our new program, Wealth by Design™ DIY! Join the Know Your Numbers challenge Schedule a free call with us — Are we a good fit for your financial planning needs? CONNECT WITH DANIELLE AND DUSTIN Ask Your Questions On Facebook On Twitter
5 minutes | 3 months ago
MINISODE: Should You Have a Joint Account with Your Partner?
We’ll keep the intrigue to a minimum. In our opinion, the answer to this question is a resounding yes. Whether you’ve just gotten married (congrats!) or you’re in a committed, long-term relationship, it may be a good idea to have a joint account with your partner. Sharing your finances with your partner builds trust. Keeping them separate can breed suspicion and worry; plus, separate accounts keep your partner out of the loop on your day-to-day spending and savings habits. Why do partners keep separate accounts? It may be a leftover habit from when you were dating. Or, you may have seen your parents control their accounts separately and assume that’s the best, or only, option. The good news is, there’s still time to change things if you’re considering opening a joint account. Tune in to the full minisode for all the deets from Dustin! It’s only a few minutes, so you have no excuse to not tune in... WHAT YOU’LL LEARN Reasons why people might keep separate accounts Community property laws The importance of trust in a marriage Arguments against joint accounts (that are actually red flags) This material is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. RESOURCES & PEOPLE MENTIONED The nine community property states The other states follow equitable distribution laws Check out our new program, Wealth by Design™ DIY! Join the Know Your Numbers challenge Schedule a free call with us — Are we a good fit for your financial planning needs? CONNECT WITH DANIELLE AND DUSTIN Ask Your Questions On Facebook On Twitter
35 minutes | 3 months ago
113: Should There Be a Wealth Tax?
The coronavirus pandemic, as well as recent protests against racial injustice, have highlighted a few underlying problems in our society that have been unknown by many and ignored by most. One of them is the income equality in America: the staggering wealth that a very small percentage of the population owns. As you’ve probably heard, about 1% of the population owns 44% of the wealth in the world. It’s staggering. That’s why the idea of a wealth tax has been kicked around lately, especially as we draw nearer to the 2020 election. Senator Elizabeth Warren and Senator Bernie Sanders both proposed a wealth tax during their campaigns, and billionaires like Warren Buffet have even spoken in favor of a wealth tax. But what is a wealth tax, and how does it work? Listen to our latest Wealth by Design episode to find out. Bonus: we have Joseph Darbonne from the Toujours Planning team as a co-host! WHAT YOU’LL LEARN [00:52] Meet Dustin’s co-host, Joseph [03:56] What is a wealth tax? [06:15] Why the idea of wealth tax is becoming popular [09:55] Is our current tax system fair? [13:38] Negative net worth [15:20] The ultra-wealthy who called for raised taxes [18:06] Downsides of a wealth tax society [20:18] The difference between “regressive” and “progressive” taxes [24:43] Arguments against wealth tax What is a wealth tax and how does it work? Let’s get this out of the way first: wealth tax is not the same as your income tax. Income tax taxes the money you rake in over a period of time. Through our progressive income tax system here in the United States, people with higher taxable incomes pay higher income tax rates. There are seven federal income tax brackets, where the lowest tax rate is 10% and the highest is 37%. Net worth is, as Dustin put it, basically everything you own, minus everything you owe. (Need to know what yours is? We have a calculator for that) A wealth tax would tax your net worth. For example, if you have $400,000 of assets and $250,000 of debt, your net worth would be $150,000. A 2% wealth tax would be $3,000. As Joseph mentioned, wealth taxes are not brand new ideas. “There are wealth taxes in place already that you’re not even aware you pay,” said Joseph. “If you’re a homeowner, your property tax is a wealth tax.” There are also inheritance taxes, estate taxes, and gift taxes as other examples. The argument for a wealth tax Why would we want to institute a wealth tax in this country? Well, we talk about the net worth of Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos in this episode, and we guesstimated it was around $77 billion at the time of recording in mid-July. We were wrong: he has an estimated $178 billion, and is the currently richest person alive. Compare how much wealth he has to the average American, and it’s mind-boggling. As Joseph explained, we now have about 2,100 billionaires in this country… and minimum wage is still under eight bucks in their state of Louisiana. A wealth tax would move to balance out the wealth inequality we experience in our society today. It would also make tax percentages equal for all: “If you’re worth ten dollars or ten billion dollars, you’re gonna have the same tax rate, but based on your net worth,” explained Dustin. We point out in the episode that many people in the top 1% are lucky enough to inherit wealth. There are self-made billionaires who busted their butts, yes, but some of the ultra-wealthy didn’t lift a finger to make their millions and billions. Wealth is much more unequally distributed than income. If we continue to allow income inequality, the ultra-wealthy who inherited their wealth will keep dominating the economy. The cons of having a wealth tax Having a wealth tax sounds like an easy fix to income equality, but the mechanics of having it? Not so much. What would be considered a taxable asset? Are there liabilities that wouldn’t be taxed? How do you even calculate the value of an asset, like your house or business? It gets tricky. And there may be cons against those who aren’t wealthy, too. One of the biggest arguments against the wealth tax, Dustin explained, is that it doesn’t incentivize saving, investing, or building businesses. If we tax the richest people, they might not want to do anything to build their net worth. That may be so, but we also discussed how human nature plays into everything. We want to feel like we have value, and that we matter. Would we really settle for having a negative net worth? Or would people want to keep building their savings and growing their wealth? This was a really fun topic to discuss in our latest episode, and we hope y’all learned about wealth tax by listening. We also hope you enjoyed meeting our new co-host! This material is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. RESOURCES & PEOPLE MENTIONED Learn more about our co-host, Joseph! More on net worth in Episode 102 A short guide to Capital in the 21st Century Jeff Bezos’ net worth (which is already higher than the amount we mentioned at the time of recording) The “Millionaires for Humanity” letter calling for raised taxes Check out our new program, Wealth by Design™ DIY! Join the Know Your Numbers challenge Schedule a free call with us — Are we a good fit for your financial planning needs?
5 minutes | 4 months ago
MINISODE: When Stock Markets Dip and Bounce Back
In March of 2020, we saw the stock market tumble 30% in one month. In the following few months, we’ve gained most of that back. What is happening?? In this minisode (seriously, it’s less than three minutes!), Dustin recaps what a stock actually is — in case you’ve forgotten amidst all the panicked COVID-19 stock market talk — and how stocks are bought and sold. He discusses how people’s emotions cause those peaks and valleys in the stock market, and how you can avoid that dangerous herd mentality when it comes to your own investing. WHAT YOU’LL LEARN What a stock is The basics of buying and selling stocks How fear and greed cause swings in the market Dustin’s secret to investing This material is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. RESOURCES & PEOPLE MENTIONED Dustin shares more stock market basics in Episode 7! More on fear, greed, and herd mentality in Episode 10 Check out our DIY Financial Planning Course Sign up for our free Know Your Numbers challenge We have more minisodes on our YouTube Channel Schedule a free call with us — Are we a good fit for your financial planning needs? CONNECT WITH DANIELLE AND DUSTIN Ask Your Questions On Facebook On Twitter
36 minutes | 4 months ago
112: Growing a Business & Wealth with Katell and Jon of Reverielane
Katell and Jon, a husband and wife design team, are founders of Reverielane, a purpose-driven brand and web design firm. Katell’s experiences living in The Ivory Coast in Africa and France have honed her keen eye for design. Paired with her entrepreneurial drive, as well as Jon’s technical skills and creative spirit, led to the growth of Reverielane. We were so excited to talk to Katell and Jon about Reverielane, their thoughts on investing and building wealth, and their long-term goals for their business and personal lives. WHAT YOU’LL LEARN [02:00] How and why Katell started Reverielane [05:14] What “living life on your own terms” means to Jon and Katell [08:39] What it means to build wealth [11:00] Investing and growing assets [13:54] Jon and Katell’s investment goals [17:09] Our guests’ thoughts on debt [18:48] Preparing for the unknown [20:49] Long-term goals for Reverielane [28:11] Jon and Katell’s underlying passions outside of the business Reverielane’s origin story Katell moved to the United States from France in 2010. Rather than starting a new career working for someone else, she decided to go all in and launch a graphic design business. “When I moved here, I saw the possibility of creating something on my own,” said Katell. “And I decided to go that way instead.” Katell took the first few years to hone her graphic design skills. With Jon still working a traditional job, the timing was perfect to launch Reverielane. Plus, starting her own business that would also work with a family lifestyle was always one of Katell’s goals. “I’ve always wanted to make my own money,” said Katell. “Creating something that I could do from home and raise the kids, that seemed like the cherry on top.” Jon was working with Katell on Reverielane, kind of as his “night job” in addition to his regular job. But when they both realized the potential to grow Reverielane and looked at what it could become, he decided to go all in and work on it full-time. At the beginning, Katell and Jon had different mindsets on income and investing. “The initial step was, ‘let’s survive the first month,’” said John. “Katell came in and said, ‘No, this needs to be our financial goal right away.’” He realized she was right. By making space for investing in Reverielane from the beginning, they were able to look beyond that month-to-month idea of simply making ends meet. They were on a path to growing their wealth. Living life on their own terms Katell pointed out that running a business with your partner sounds, in theory, “very idyllic and fun,” but it’s hard work. Making that decision to have only one income source was tough, but it was how they could work towards their dreams. Flexibility was key: the flexibility to work from home, to travel if they wanted, and also to give to others if they had the means. Flexibility played an important role in their other decisions, too. Jon and Katell chose Southern California as a place to settle down, grow the business, and raise a family, but they were always open to other options should the need arise. “Not that you want to be moving every six months, but the mindset helped us feel confident in our decision,” said Jon. “It was awesome to get to move based on our own desires, rather than what was pulling us.” Flexibility also influences how they run Reverielane. For example, creative work in their industry tends to fluctuate. Rather than stick to a monthly budget for the business, they budget by quarter instead. That’s a great tip for creative entrepreneurs: you don’t have to follow certain rules because that’s the way you’re “supposed” to operate a business. Be flexible and do what works for you. Building wealth to give back What’s in the cards for Katell and Jon in the future? Of course, Reverielane’s success is one of their goals. Offering more options to clients and customers and scaling the business is what Katell and Jon are focused on now. If, in the future, the business evolves so much that they may sell it, they’re open to it. We asked Jon and Katell what they would be doing if income wasn’t a factor. What are their underlying passions they’d pursue if they could? Music is a big part of Jon’s life; he played cello as a kid and pursued audio engineering as a degree. Writing short fiction and making short films, creating things as he wants and as the inspiration hits would be his dream. Giving back, as Katell mentions often in this episode, is very important to her. That may look like investing in an AirBnB to offer others a place to stay. Or it may be starting a foundation, or a restaurant. “We don’t want to just build wealth to be ‘wealthy.’ We always want to have a heart full of generosity and kindness,” said Katell. “We want to be able to serve people, to impact people.” This material is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index is a capitalization weighted index of 500 stocks designed to measure performance of the broad domestic economy through changes in the aggregate market value of 500 stocks representing all major industries. The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index which cannot be invested into directly. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. RESOURCES & PEOPLE MENTIONED Build Wealth and Make an Impact With ESG Investing: Episode 076 Ladder Life Shay Cochrane and Graham Cochrane Join the Know Your Numbers challeng Want more help? Check out our new program, Wealth by Design™ DIY! Schedule a free call with us — Are we a good fit for your financial planning needs? CONNECT WITH DANIELLE AND DUSTIN Ask Your Questions On Facebook On Twitter
26 minutes | 4 months ago
[Summer Remix] 102: Net Worth is King
We talk about fear a lot on our podcast. Fear is natural and, TBH, necessary. But when it comes to finances, three types of fear tends to hold us back: from investing, from charging clients what we’re worth, or from taking chances when building a business. Fear can also make you focus on the wrong thing when it comes to your net worth. Paying down debt rather than building up your assets, to be specific. And that’s what we discuss in this week’s episode: where our fear of the “debt boogeyman” comes from, our three-step strategy on how to overcome it, and what part of your finances you should be focusing on instead. WHAT YOU’LL LEARN The first of our Nine Commandments What is your net worth? Debt vs. assets: which should you focus on more? How we got inspiration for this episode Why the Dave Ramsey way of looking at debt is problematic The types of assets you need Where did Millennial “fear of debt” come from? How to change your debt-fearing mindset Steps to building a positive net worth A couple of analogies for paying down debt and building assets Assets - Liabilities = Net Worth “Net Worth is King.” That’s our second of Nine Commandments, after “Leave the Punch Clock Mindset Behind.” (A little insider info for you: we’ll be talking about our other commandments in future episodes!) So what is your “net worth,” exactly? Simply put, your net worth = your assets - your liabilities. You want a positive net worth, which is where you have more assets than liabilities. “Own more things than you owe,” as Dustin put it in this episode. As simple as that sounds, we see more people focus on paying down their debt rather than building their assets. That’s partly because our culture focuses on debt so much, even though assets are just as important, if not more so. The Problem with Focusing on Debt Let’s be real: our society’s obsessed with debt. And honestly, we blame Dave Ramsey and his Debt Snowball Plan. Yeah, we said it. We won’t go into too much detail about his methodology (which we have linked in the show notes if you’re really interested), but generally, he advises people to attack their debt first. Once it’s all gone, then you should invest, he says. But there’s a fatal flaw in that plan: all those years you spend paying down debt only are years you could be saving thanks to compounding interest! But we keep shooting ourselves in the foot by paying down debt… because we’re scared! Where does this fear of the debt boogeyman come from? Our parents dealt with the highest interest rates ever to date in history, from the mid-1960s to the mid-1990s. Which, by the way, is the generation that Dave Ramsey comes from. We Millennials were raised to believe that we have to be debt-free before we save or invest. (Thanks, Mom and Dad.) Now, over the last 10 years, interest for debt is at one of the lowest it’s ever been. This means that the Baby Boomer mentality of fearing debt doesn’t really make sense anymore. We need a new way of thinking about debt and assets. How to Work Towards a Positive Net Worth We’ll lead the charge on getting rid of that debt-fearing mindset. Instead of looking at debt as some horrific monster, think of it as a necessary presence instead. You can and will deal with it, but other parts of your financial strategy are more important and will make a bigger impact on your wealth. Think of it this way: even if you pay down your debt to zero, if you haven’t been saving until that point, you have no wealth. Zero is then your starting point, which is a waste. Choosing the right assets and focusing on saving — at any income level — is more important than paying down debt. Here’s how to do both at the same time. Step one: Pay off your high-interest debt first. We typically think of anything over 6% as high interest, like credit card debt. Get rid of it; pay off your credit card debt on a monthly basis. This is the only thing we’ll agree with Dave Ramsey on. Step two: Pay the rest of your debt normally. This includes your mortgages or student loans, which are usually less than 6%. Make those regular payments...and stop worrying about them. You can do it. Step three: Put the rest of your discretionary income into savings using a bucket strategy. At the same time you’re lowering your debt, you’re working toward positive net worth. We talk a lot about our bucket strategy, but here’s a quick recap of how it works. You have three “buckets” to put your savings towards and we recommend using all of them to build your net worth. Using this strategy, you’re putting money towards all of these goals at the same time, letting these savings grow now so you can enjoy them later. Face Your Fears and Move Forward Getting over your fear of debt takes time and change can be scary. However, we hope that our explanation of where this fear comes from can help you start changing your mindset. Don’t waste time chipping away at your debt only, when you can be paying it down and building your assets at the same time to achieve positive net worth. Tune in to the full episode to get the full download on debt… and why it shouldn’t be ruling your life. This material is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. RESOURCES & PEOPLE MENTIONED Leaving Behind the “Punch Clock” Mindset, Episode 98 The “BULB” strategy, Episode 63 Dave Ramsey’s Debt Snowball Plan (boo, hiss) The Bucket Strategy’s first appearance in Episode 4
51 minutes | 4 months ago
[Summer Remix] 101: Robo-advisors: Your New Best Friend or Your Worst Enemy?
The robots have taken over. Just kidding. In reality, robots haven’t taken over — but they have taken over a major chunk of the financial industry in the form of robo-advisors. A lot of people assume that we’re going to bash on robo-advisors (“The robots are taking your jobs!”) or that we will tell them a human advisor is the only way to go. But the truth is, we think robo-advisors are actually pretty useful. Of course, there’s a time and a place to use them, which is exactly what we cover in this episode of Wealth by Design. WHAT YOU’LL LEARN Dustin’s concerns about robo-advisors earlier in his career Why they’re not a threat to the financial planning industry What robo-advisors are Why it’s not a question of which to use, but when to use each The questions that may come up around using a robo-advisor The major downside to robo-advisors (hint: it’s about customer service) The limiting beliefs that come when people consider hiring a financial advisor The biggest question clients have about an advisor The scary stories in the media that might discourage you from enlisting help What you should feel when you find the right robo-advisor 11:32 What robo-advisors can’t do (spoiler alert: it requires ears) How to have your cake and eat it too The risk of letting the noise win When to go with a robo-advisor The rise of the subscription advisor How a hybrid of human + robo-advisor can help you navigate complexity When you should go all-in on a human advisor The need for customization as you grow your wealth How Dustin + Danielle use robo-advisors in their own business WHAT IS A ROBO-ADVISOR… EXACTLY? You might not be using the term “robo-advisor,” but you might be using one. Sites like e-Trade, Charles Schwab, Ellevest, Betterment, Acorn, and others all offer an automated, algorithm-based, and accessible way to invest for a low cost. Usually, you can create an account, tell them your goals, the amount you wish to invest, and the types of stocks or funds you’d like to invest in (optional), and you’re off to the races. It’s that easy to start investing with robo-advisors, which we think is pretty neat. Robo-advisors are: Algorithm-based. They take data to determine the best fit for your investment needs, and they pair you up with the right stocks and funds to make selection super easy and quick. A little cookie-cutter. How could they not be? A robot can’t understand the nuances of every element of your financial life and goals (thank god). So, you’ll want to ask yourself, “Am I OK with a little cookie-cutter advice to get my investments off the ground?” Cheap. For those of you out there who are super conscious of price, robo-advisors are great. They’re some of the lowest-priced advisor services out there, but you know what they say — you get what you pay for. Pretty DIY. Robo-advisors don’t have a human advisor on the line, waiting to answer your calls. Sure, there’s tech support and a few resources to help with your questions, but they’re going to be fairly general. IS A ROBO-ADVISOR RIGHT FOR YOU? In this episode, we cover a lot of ground about what exactly a robo-advisor is, as well as when to choose one. We talk about scenarios that make you prime for a robo-advisor, like: When you are just starting out with investing. If you’re a total DIYer with your finances. Your situation is pretty simple (no kids, not a ton of money to invest yet, etc.). We also walk you through the scenarios that might make a robo-advisor a “tighter squeeze” for you, such as if you: Have a thriving business and high levels of income (and no clue what to do with it). Are sick of DIYing your finances, or managing all the complexity alone. Are second-guessing the investments you’ve got now, or you’re not getting the results you want from them. Want a more customized, tailored financial plan that covers more than basic investing. Are worried about looming recession — or you’ve been hit hard by one. As we all know, robots aren’t human (#duh). That means that there are certain things lost in translation — things like supporting specific goals, understanding emotions around investing, and navigating complexity. That’s where we start recommending a hybrid: human and robots, unite! THE HYBRID OPTION FOR YOUR INVESTMENTS If there’s one thing you take away from this episode, it’s that you do not have to choose one or the other, robots or humans. You can use both to optimize your financial plan and future. One suggestion we make is pairing your robo-advisor investments with a subscription advisor — this is new! With a subscription advisor service, you don’t have to have any investments with an advisor, but you can get the financial advice and plan you need to really focus on your financial life and goals. This is right for you if your situation is becoming be a bit more complex, i.e. you own your own business, want to understand estate planning, you have kids or a growing family, etc. but you don’t have a ton of interest in investing (or money to invest). This is something many advisors are beginning to offer because it comes without an investment requirement or minimum. You can get financial advice “on retainer,” so to speak, and your robo-advisor can continue to invest your money in the smaller accounts and portfolios you’ve selected. P.S. You can learn more about subscription advisor services with Toujours Planning. But if it’s to level up and really grow your long-term wealth so you can enter “revivement” or live that work-optional lifestyle, we do think that a human advisor is the best way to go. WHEN A HUMAN ADVISOR IS YOUR BEST OPTION We know just how much value a human advisor brings people, because we are human advisors! We think that deciding to go directly with a human advisor is a good decision for all the reasons you might choose a hybrid option… except for one big difference: you want the whole enchilada. You’re sick of DIYing. You’re losing money on robo-investments or not seeing strong growth for how much you’re investing. And you’re feeling the fear that comes with ups and downs in the market. In short, you need a sensei. You want someone to create a custom plan for you, to walk you off the ledge if you’re getting spooked, and to help you come out stronger on the other side. Most of all, you’re ready for a custom financial plan and investment strategy that gets you from the hamster wheel of hustle to feeling secure, free, and wealthy. You want to feel listened to, cared for, and like you don’t have to do the work yourself. You’re busy and you are ready for help. If that sounds like you, then you’re probably ready to work with a human financial advisor. THAT’S NOT ALL, FOLKS As you can probably tell by all the knowledge bombs we’ve dropped here, this episode is super in-depth and talks all about the benefits, downsides, connections, and scenarios that might help you decide where to start your investing journey. We also cover a lot of ground on mindset, what you might be feeling (or fearing) with your decision, and how to know if you’ve found the right fit. To get all the magic, make sure to tune into Episode 101. It’s short but jam-packed with great info that can help you really start to build long-term wealth, so don’t skip it! This material is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. RESOURCES & PEOPLE MENTIONED The definition of a robo-advisor (Investopedia) Subscription advisor services The Toujours Planning Quiz — Are we a good fit for your financial planning needs?
36 minutes | 5 months ago
[Summer Remix] 100: High Yield Savings vs. Stocks: Who Wins?
Let’s address the elephant in the room first: what does the phrase “stock market” mean to you? Fear! Panic! Crash! We get it. But we’re here to tell you… the stock market ain’t that bad! There are a lot of misconceptions about investing in the stock market, thanks to fear-mongering in the news, horror stories from family and friends, and a lack of education about the stock market in general. Your fears are valid, but they can also hold you back from growing your wealth. Your fears may also be why high yield savings seems like the better option for your money. In this episode (Episode 100, by the way 🎉), we talked about the differences between high yield savings and stocks. We know you’re probably a big fan of saving because it’s “safe,” right? Well, we’re about to rock your world. WHAT YOU’LL LEARN First, Danielle and Dustin get personal Why people are talking about high yield savings Comparing $10k in high yield savings vs. $10k in stocks The return on high yield savings How the inflation rate affects your savings The return on stocks Which conditions affect your return How high yield savings are best used Why “high yield” is a misleading marketing term How fear can hold you back from investing Where misconceptions about the stock market come from How to use fears to your advantage What to remember when you hear a stock market horror story The secret to investing The three things to remember when investing Comparing investments in high yield savings and stocks What would happen if you put $10,000 in a high yield savings account five years ago, and it compounded 2.5% every year? You’d have a little over $11,000 now, just for keeping it in the bank. If you started ten years ago, make that a little over $12,000. If you added $100 into it every month, too, you’d have over $26k. Compound interest + saving = a pretty decent return, right? That’s what it looks like… but don’t forget about the inflation rate, folks. Online banks may sell you on a 2.5% compound interest rate, which seems better than other banks who might offer you less than 1%. But the inflation rate usually averages out to about the same. Which means, as we talk about in the episode, that you’re really just keeping up with the cost of living when you save with a high yield account! The interest rate and inflation rate are the same. You’re not growing your money; you’re treading water. *Insert Debbie Downer noise here* So how can you actually potentially grow your money? With stocks. Using historical data, we found that if you invested $10,000 in the SMP 500 five years ago and it compounded yearly, your return would be nearly $17,000. How about ten years ago? You’d have nearly $35,000. And here’s the kicker: if you invested in the stock market ten years ago and added $100 every month, you’d have over $57,000. That’s more than double the amount in your hypothetical high yield savings — and it’s almost a 600% return on your money. Bananas, right?? Clearly, stocks are the winner, but that’s not to say that high yield savings accounts don’t have a place in your financial strategy. High yield savings are great for emergency funds, or having cash on hand should you need it for the next few years to buy a house, for example. Use a high yield savings account for your short-term bucket, and for the projects you know are happening in the next year or so. Stocks, on the other hand, are great for your long-term bucket, like saving for retirement or revivement. Now that you’ve done the math and the proof is in the pudding… are you ready to start investing? Good. The rest of the episode is devoted to showing you how to get started! Three steps to investing One of the biggest frustrations we hear when we talk to our clients about stocks is “Why weren’t we taught this stuff in school??!” Unfortunately, we’re just not told how beneficial this could be to our lives and security, but we’re gonna change all that for you. In the episode, we walk you through the first rule of Investing Club: don’t talk about Investing Club. Just kidding. Your first step to investing in the stock market is to understand how it works so you can make informed decisions — and shout it from the rooftops if you want! In our library of resources, we have a Stock Market 101 resource you’re definitely gonna want to check out. Step Two: Be disciplined. Tune out the noise from 24/7 news that will stress you out and make you worry about your investments. A disciplined approach to investing is dollar-cost averaging, where you put in the same amount of money each month like clockwork, no matter what the market is doing. As we said in the episode, dollar-cost averaging takes your ego out of the equation. Step Three: Have a zen mindset. Okay, we know that you can’t completely tune out the noise around you. Instead of blocking out “negative” news, see it as a positive. Look at a market drop as a reset, not a reason to panic. Embrace the changes in the market and see it as part of your strategy. The stock market is composed of businesses, after all. Every business experiences peaks and valleys. That’s normal. Know when to hold ‘em… and when to invest ‘em Hopefully, this episode really helps you see the logic of investing in the stock market. With our three-step approach, you can overcome your fears of investing and finally stop leaving potential compound interest on the table. We dive deep into the stock market and high yield savings in this episode, including what conditions affect your investment and why “high yield savings” is a tricky marketing ploy. So make sure to listen to the full episode to get all the other details and tidbits on this topic! This material is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. RESOURCES & PEOPLE MENTIONED Danielle’s personal Instagram @showmeyournola Psst...here’s Dustin’s Instagram too, @dustinrgranger NerdWallet’s Compound Interest Calculator The Bucket Strategy Saving for a revivement Get your Stock Market 101 resource now! Dollar-Cost Averaging (which we also discuss in Episode 17) CONNECT WITH DANIELLE AND DUSTIN Ask Your Questions On Facebook On Twitter
22 minutes | 5 months ago
[Summer Remix] 98: Leaving Behind the “Punch Clock” Mindset
No one uses an actual punch clock at their job anymore, right? However, the concept of a punch clock — punching in to start a shift and punching out when it ends — is ingrained in many of us, even as business owners who write our own checks and make our own schedules. But it doesn’t have to stay that way! On this episode of Wealth By Design, we talk about how you can start changing your mindset and your life right now. WHAT YOU’LL LEARN Why the punch clock is the enemy The irony of making your own hours as a business owner Living in the age of distraction Why so many professionals start their own business How financial planning can help you defeat the punch clock The hustle and grind of being a business owner What “revivement” is How your passions can guide your work The important business strategy people aren’t talking about How to start building a safety net for yourself The importance of having a financial life plan What a “BULB” is — in case you haven’t been following us for long How to reach BULB status THE “CLOCK IN, CLOCK OUT” MINDSET If you started your own business, we bet one of your goals was to get away from the punch clock. Maybe the one you saw your parents dealing with. You wanted more flexibility and control over the hours you work. But it’s not that easy. And your flexible work schedule doesn’t necessarily mean you’re free of the metaphorical punch clock. Here’s why: There’s still a direct correlation into the hours you put in to the money you get back. Hours in, money out. Plus, you’re likely putting in more than the typical 40 hours a week, even though you’re the boss. YOUR TIME IS PRECIOUS, SO MAKE THE MOST OF IT This is a problem because, as we talk about in this week’s episode, our time is more important than ever in today’s age. Everything and everyone is competing for just a few seconds of your time. Social media, networking sites, apps, streaming services: everyone is fighting for your attention. Your time is precious, and that’s why you need a plan to make the most of it. As a business owner, you probably feel intense pressure to “be a boss” or “put in the work” or “rise and grind.” We get it, and we’ve been there. But we’re here to shout a big fat “No thanks” at that life. We’re team anti-hustle and grind. We want you to stop and smell the roses. Enjoy your life while you can. You want to be able to step away from business, clear your mind, and delegate to others… without feeling like everything will fall apart without you there. You want to get to a place where you don’t have to put in all the hours to receive an income. You want to work not because you have to, but because you want to, right? Of course you do… but how do you get there? ENVISION YOUR LIFE IF MONEY WASN’T AN ISSUE The first exercise we talk you through in the episode is a little soul-searching. More specifically, we talk about “revivement.” It’s like retirement, but instead of waiting until you’re no longer working to pursue your life’s mission, you do it right now. If you didn’t have your current career, what would you really want to do? If you’re already doing what you want to be doing, great. You’re one step ahead. But you can dive a little deeper. Is it the actual work that’s your passion? Going to the office, sitting at your computer, having meetings… is that your goal? Or is it the effect of the work that you’re doing that’s your true passion? Once you start thinking about this, you can begin taking steps to build the life you want and the kind of legacy you’ll leave behind — and stop putting in the time you’ve been spending. CREATE A FINANCIAL LIFE PLAN When we read about entrepreneurs, watch documentaries about successful startups, or listen to podcasts about the business owners who made it, we hear a lot about how they built their business. Their dreams. The sacrifices they made. The hustle-and-grind. (There it is again!) What we don’t often hear about is the saving and investing required at the beginning, and the planning that’s needed after the business is already built. Most self-made millionaires or billionaires build financial planning into their strategy early on. But we don’t hear about that enough, even though it’s a huge part of their success. Frustrating, right? Basically, what nobody is telling you is: the hustle isn’t the only way these people are getting rich! And yeah, building a safety net for yourself might seem a little boring, and frankly, not all that sexy. But it’s the necessary stuff that will protect you, your business, and your family. Insurance, legal documents, financial assets, all that jazz. Even if you’re young, your legacy still matters! Do the work and take care of that stuff now. Remember, your time is precious. Once your safety net is in place, you can figure out what actions you need to take in order to meet your goals. One goal we suggest? Start thinking in terms of your BULB: your back-up life bank. This is a dollar goal that, once you’ve reached it, your work is optional. If you haven’t been following us for long, your BULB is 25 times your minimum yearly income. It sounds like a big number, but it’s totally doable. We talk all about in Episode 063 if you wanna go have a listen. DREAM OF A LIFE AFTER THE PUNCH CLOCK... Imagine the day when you don’t have to sit down at your desk or go to those meetings to make your money. Let’s dream of a day when you can wake up and do the things that really fill your cup, make money, and make more of a difference — without having to spend your time to do it. This is truly when you can kick back and enjoy the fruits of your labor. But this doesn’t start by busting your 🍑 to make more money now. It all starts when you ditch the punch clock, reevaluate your investments (including your business), and start building your safety net. For more in-depth advice and steps on how to do this, be sure to listen to this week’s full episode. Also check out our show notes for more resources. This material is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. RESOURCES & PEOPLE MENTIONED Taylor Johnson’s Focusmate app for distraction-free productivity Dannie Fountain, passionate entrepreneur and one badass businesswoman Episode 063: Self-Employment & Work-Optional Lifestyles
19 minutes | 5 months ago
111: What’s Most Important to You?
How has your life changed in 2020? We’re not talking about how you’re learning how to bake bread, choosing Zoom backgrounds for your virtual meetings, or watching way too much Netflix. We’re talking about how the intangible stuff has changed. Your values. Your priorities. Your life goals. Maybe you’re realizing that you want to make more time to spend with family. You might find that you want to pursue hobbies that make you happy. Or maybe you’ve realized you need to make lifestyle changes now in order to make your dreams come to life in the future. If the pandemic hasn’t pushed you to at least think about what’s important to you… well, we’re calling you to think about it now. In this episode of Wealth by Design, we’re also helping you figure out what’s important to you so you can start living your most ideal life. WHAT YOU’LL LEARN [01:01] How our lives (and priorities) have shifted lately [07:09] The importance of having a vision for your life [10:01] Ask yourself this question to start figuring out your vision [11:30] How will you live your life? [12:40] Confronting your mortality is scary, but necessary [14:10] What’s your “revivement” age? [15:34] Building a timeline for your goals Why do you need a vision? Whether you’re a go-with-the-flow kinda person or someone who thrives off of structure and deadlines, you can benefit from having some kind of roadmap for your life. It can get you back on course when life throws a curveball at you — for example, a curveball in the form of a global pandemic. Who’d ever see that coming?? Okay, you might be wondering, “Why are you talking about life choices and values? What’s that got to do with money?” Fair question! And the answer is… money is a big part of life. When you understand your values, goals, and priorities, you’ll start making financial decisions that are in line with them. Eventually, you’ll realize you can really enjoy life and find it fulfilling if your money choices are in line with your vision. As Danielle says in this episode, “Just focusing on the money side of things doesn’t really serve you. We want you to start looking at your life in a different way.” You can start looking at your life in a different way by using our Vision Worksheet inside our resource library. (Psst...if you need something more detailed to plan out your financial future, there’s our new program called Wealth by Design™ DIY. Check it out.) Start envisioning your ideal life There are three scenarios we want you to imagine when you start using our Vision Worksheet. First, imagine that you are financially secure. You have enough money to take care of your needs now and in the future. How would you live your life? What would you do with your money? Would you change anything? Then, imagine that your doctor tells you that you have five to ten years left to live. You won’t ever feel sick, but you also won’t know the exact moment of your death. What would you do in your remaining time? Would you change your life, and if so, how? Finally, let’s imagine that your doctor tells you that you have only one day left to live. How do you feel? What do you wish you had been, or seen, or done? These scenarios aren’t meant to scare you with the thought of death. Nor are they meant for you to think about for a few minutes and then file away for later. To truly sit with the idea of death and how you want to be living your life, you need to carve out some time to fill out the Vision Worksheet. Really think about the questions and be honest with your answers. Live Intentionally From there, you can start crafting a timeline for your goals. Want to buy or build your dream home by a certain age? Start writing a book? Learn how to play an instrument? Work less and focus on your hobbies more? Assign these goals to the ages in which you want to accomplish them. Ta da! You’ve taken your first few steps to bringing your vision to life. We get it, y’all. The idea of death is scary. The idea of changing your life can be, too. But when you start living life intentionally, you’ll find more meaning and purpose in everything you do. And that’s an awesome feeling. This material is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. RESOURCES & PEOPLE MENTIONED Get your free Vision Worksheet from our resources library! Join the Know Your Numbers challenge Learn more about revivement in Episode 65 Want more help? Check out our new program, Wealth by Design™ DIY! Schedule a free call with us — Are we a good fit for your financial planning needs? CONNECT WITH DANIELLE AND DUSTIN Ask Your Questions On Facebook On Twitter
21 minutes | 5 months ago
110: Why Everyone Needs an Estate Plan
Answer us this: which person needs estate planning the most? A) Someone with two kidsB) Someone with a small business of their ownC) Someone who has property and possessions to pass onD) All of the above If you answered D, ding ding ding! You win. Say the term “estate planning” and people assume it’s only meant for people with kids, or that it’s used to pass on wealth and possessions. But it’s much more than that, and we know that everyone benefits from an estate plan. We talk about why in our latest podcast episode. WHAT YOU’LL LEARN What estate planning usually includes Why most people avoid estate planning What happens when you don’t have an estate plan Basic estate planning documents you need A few things you may not have considered for your will The future of your business Think about life insurance Details to remember in your estate plan Where does your stuff go? Your estate is made up of all your possessions. Your home, your car, bank accounts, investments you’ve made, that yacht you use once in a while, the fabulous jewelry you inherited from your stylish grandmother, your prized collection of Air Jordans in your closet. All of that makes up your estate. So… what happens to it when you’re gone? An estate plan dictates who gets your property when you pass on. Your kids, your close family members and friends, nonprofit organizations you passionately supported, you get the idea. If you don’t have an estate plan to dictate where your stuff goes, a court usually decides. Can you imagine? As Danielle put it, “You don’t want someone else — a stranger — deciding who gets what.” Other parts of estate planning Estate planning involves more than your possessions. Your will, which is a basic estate planning document, takes care of those decisions. There are other estate planning documents you need, too. Your power of attorney is one. A power of attorney is a document that gives another person the legal authority to make decisions on your behalf if you can’t. This person is called your power of attorney agent. A power of attorney agent might make decisions about your medical treatment, finances, assets, and more. Many people choose their spouse or partner as their power of attorney agent, but consider the worst case scenario: you and your partner both pass away or become incapacitated at the same time. You may want to consider someone else just in case. That brings up another component of estate planning and why we need it: it protects your loved ones. You can appoint a guardian to care for your kids (or fur kids) should that worst case scenario play out. Plus, you can explain what you want to happen when you pass away. If you want a funeral or memorial service, where it should be held, if you want to be cremated or buried, if you have money set aside to pay for funeral arrangements, etc. These are all important decisions that can be really difficult for your loved ones to make in the wake of your death. “You don’t want your loved ones panicking, scrambling, stressing, paying… making all of these decisions when they should just be focused on grieving,” Danielle pointed out. When you make those decisions ahead of time, you’re easing the emotional burden for your family members and friends. Why people avoid estate planning If we all know why estate planning is good for us, then what’s the deal? Why do we all avoid it? Well, estate planning involves something that most of us are uncomfortable talking about: our deaths. What would happen if we were incapacitated, unable to think clearly, or couldn’t make our own decisions anymore? It’s obviously not the most fun topic of conversation at parties. After you pluck up the courage to talk about this stuff and get your estate plan in order, though, we promise you’ll feel hugely relieved. Take the first step to feeling better about estate planning and check out our full episode on the topic! Then, you might want to check out our Wealth by Design DIY program… just FYI 😉 This material is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. RESOURCES & PEOPLE MENTIONED Yep, Prince’s estate is still being settled Check out estate planning on LegalZoom Episode 94: Do You Really Need Insurance? Schedule a free call with us — Are we a good fit for your financial planning needs? Check out our DIY Financial Planning Course CONNECT WITH DANIELLE AND DUSTIN Ask Your Questions On Facebook On Twitter
4 minutes | 6 months ago
MINISODE: The Problem With Saving Just for Emergencies & Retirement
How many times have you heard “Save for an emergency!” and “Save for retirement!” We’re not saying those aren’t super important things to save for… but what about the rest of your life? Things like buying a house some day, or having kids. Taking that 6-month sabbatical. Buying out your business partner. Starting another business. You don’t just have the cash sitting around for that, do you?? Probably not, which is why you need a savings goal for them, too. We know you might want to save for all of the above, or maybe for your own special thing, but popular saving advice doesn’t really tell how to get there. So we have a tip: fill your intermediate bucket. WHAT YOU’LL LEARN The “complete” bucket strategy How the financial planning industry is guilty of neglecting the intermediate bucket, too What you might want to spend your intermediate bucket on The questions you should be asking about your intermediate goals Why you shouldn’t focus on just short-term and long-term buckets What you can do right now to start filling your intermediate bucket What a “balanced” investment and savings strategy looks like THE MOST NEGLECTED BUCKET If you’re new around these parts, let us give you a quick rundown on our bucket strategy... You should be saving money for three buckets: Short-term (tomorrow to 2 years out) Intermediate (2 years to 10 years out) Long-term (10+ years out) The short-term bucket is often what people fill up (and spend) first, but we recommend that you take a look at your 2- to 10-year goals and see how much you want to save for those. For example, if you want to buy a house in the next 5 years, you might want to calculate how much you’d want to spend, and what a 10 or 20% down payment might look like. That’s your new intermediate savings goal! HOW THE HECK DO YOU SAVE THAT MUCH MONEY? Did you do the math above and felt your jaw drop at how much cash you might need to save? (Even if your goal isn’t buying a house, your goal might be expensive!) This is also why the intermediate bucket gets neglected — because people aren’t sure how to gather that much money. And the truth is: you can’t save that much cash. You’ll have to gain some compound interest with investments. Our advice? Invest monthly in a balanced portfolio. What in the world is that? Listen to the episode to find out! Want more quick tips like this? Make sure you’re subscribed to the Wealth by Design podcast! This material is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. RESOURCES & PEOPLE MENTIONED Sign up for our free Know Your Numbers challenge! - we’ll help you figure out your bucket numbers! Episode 4: The Bucket Strategy The BULB Calculator Check out our DIY Financial Planning Course Our YouTube Channel Schedule a free call with us — Are we a good fit for your financial planning needs? The Toujours Planning Blueprint to Wealth + Security CONNECT WITH DANIELLE AND DUSTIN Ask Your Questions On Facebook On Twitter
32 minutes | 6 months ago
109: The Problem with Baby Steps
Where do you get your financial advice? (Aside from us and the Wealth by Design podcast, of course. 😉) Your friends? Parents? Coworkers? YouTubers? “Money gurus?” Some of the most popular money gurus out there (we won’t name names) have a process called “baby steps,” designed to get you started with your financial education. But we have a little bit of a problem with those baby steps. OK a lot of problems. We break down every step in this method, talk about the pros and cons of each, and share our own insight — including what we think you should be doing instead. WHAT YOU’LL LEARN [00:41] Why we’re tackling this topic [05:15] A disclaimer on debt and money gurus [08:13] Why we’re so starved for financial advice [10:28] Step One: your starter emergency fund [12:35] Step Two: the “Debt Snowball” [14:45] The good, the bad, and the ugly kinds of debt [16:54] Step Three: your full emergency fund [18:33] Step Four: invest for your retirement [21:07] Step Five: save for a college fund (and a quick story about Ozark) [23:15] Step Six: pay off your home early [25:58] Step Seven: build wealth and give The reality of money gurus and debt Though we kick off this episode with a disclaimer, we’re gonna play it safe and put one here, too: this episode isn’t meant to badmouth money gurus out there. Nor is it meant to imply that people who listen to these money gurus are dumb. We simply think there are better sources of financial advice available, sources that are more in tune with what people need today. Case in point: most money gurus focus on paying down debt a lot. Debt is made out to be this huge, scary, unavoidable thing. If you throw enough money at it, you’ll defeat it, and feel a lot safer. This is an attitude our generation has been taught our entire lives! But the reality is, debt is not all bad. “Debt is relative, and debt is fluid. It’s not black-and-white,” Danielle points out. “There’s a sliding scale on debt.” Why were we fed these scary stories about debt? Our parents’ generation grew up in a high-interest environment, Danielle explains in this episode. It was expensive to borrow money. That’s no longer the case, especially now with COVID-19 crisis, but that attitude about debt still trickled down to us. And with the soaring cost of student loan debt, it’s really easy to hang on to that attitude. What we think of the “baby steps” Let’s quickly go over what most financial personalities say are the “baby steps” to financial freedom: Save $1,000 ASAP. Pay off all debt, starting with the lowest interest first. Save 3 to 6 months for your full emergency fund. Invest 15% of your household income for retirement. Save for a college fund. (because everyone has to have kids apparently) Pay off your home early. Build wealth and give. (mostly to the church, if you follow their steps exactly) Do we agree with these steps? Well, if you’re longtime listeners of our podcast, you know that we’re totally on board with having emergency funds, investing for retirement, and saving for intermediate goals like your child’s college fund. However… why are these goals tackled one by one? Why can’t you work on them simultaneously? (Hint: that’s what the bucket strategy is all about.) That last step, for example. If having a giving strategy is important to you, then you should work it into your plans at the start. And why is “building wealth” saved for the very end? You should plan to build your wealth from the very beginning! If you don’t, you’re losing out on the most important advantages you have: time and compounding interest. We’re not gonna dive into each of these steps here, but in the episode we do share one thing we like about each, and what we think can be improved. Tune in to the episode to get all the details, and hopefully you’ll feel motivated to kick (outdated) advice to the curb… and find something that fits you better. This material is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. RESOURCES & PEOPLE MENTIONED Episode 60: All About Debt: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly Episode 108: Why It’s Important to Know Your Numbers Episode 103: How to Prioritize Saving for Now, the Future, and In-Between Episode 102: Net Worth is King Join our free Know Your Numbers Challenge! Schedule a free call with us — Are we a good fit for your financial planning needs? CONNECT WITH DANIELLE AND DUSTIN Ask Your Questions On Facebook On Twitter
4 minutes | 6 months ago
MINISODE: The Real Reason You Lose (and Gain) Money in the Stock Market
Welcome to another minisode! This week, Danielle shares some quick tips and stories about the stock market, the 2007-2009 financial crisis, and the best kind of investment strategy you can use, pandemic or no pandemic. Look, we get it. It’s terrible when someone loses everything in a recession or stock market downturn. And you’re probably thinking about this stuff more frequently right now thanks to the coronavirus. However, you’ve gotta remember the other side to those horror stories: the people who lost everything probably bailed at the bottom of the market. That means they didn’t have anything invested when it skyrocketed to all-new heights. In this minisode, Danielle debunks the idea that everyone “lost it all” in the Great Recession, and what’s really going on when someone warns you away from investing. WHAT YOU’LL LEARN The other side of “losing it all” in the stock market What really happened in the 2009 crisis The best kind of investment strategy What a trusted advisor can do for you This material is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. RESOURCES & PEOPLE MENTIONED A handy overview of the 2009 financial crisis The three types of fear in Episode 58 More stories about the financial crisis in Episode 104: The Laws of Human Nature Looking for more investing wisdom? Check out our 3-part series, starting with Episode 17 Schedule a free call with us — Are we a good fit for your financial planning needs? The Toujours Planning Blueprint to Wealth + Security CONNECT WITH DANIELLE AND DUSTIN Ask Your Questions On Facebook On Twitter
21 minutes | 6 months ago
108: Why It’s Important to Know Your Numbers
Do you know your numbers? We’re not talking about your numbers like how much you have in your checking account, or age and weight (which we shouldn’t be asking about anyway!). By “numbers,” we mean the three numbers that can help you ride out this COVID-19 crisis… or any big unexpected life change that comes your way. We’re talking about: How much money you really need to make Your emergency fund number Your BULB threshold In our latest Wealth by Design episode, we talk about calculating those three numbers and how you can actually reach them. WHAT YOU’LL LEARN [00:31] Why you need to “know your numbers” [03:45] The questions we’re all asking ourselves right now [06:09] How you know you’re financially secure [06:58] Getting your finances (and mindset) in order [10:04] What is your income need? [10:53] How to calculate your true income need number [11:35] Calculating your emergency fund number and BULB number [12:51] A quick note about reaching BULB status [14:35] How to get to those three numbers [17:07] Some resources and exciting news Calculating your income need and emergency fund What’s your true income need? As in… how much income do you need? To find that first number, look at an average month from the past six months. Look at your expenses; see what you spent on your mortgage or rent, groceries, utilities, and so on. Use your favorite budgeting app or tool (or good ol’ paper and pen!) to calculate what you spent on your needs. Not your wants, but your needs. Everyone is different and we’re not about judging other people’s lifestyles, but see what extra expenses you can actually live without, like ordering takeout or shopping online. Now that you have your income need number, you can figure out how much to set aside in your emergency fund. Example: Let’s say your income need was $4,000. Your emergency fund should be, at minimum, 3 to 6 times that number. So, you should have $12,000 to $24,000 set aside in an easily accessible account. Working toward BULB status We won’t go too much into detail about BULB here, but as a quick refresher, BULB stands for “backup life bank.” It’s a number that, once achieved, you can switch to a work-optional lifestyle if you want. That magical number is about 25 times your minimum income requirement. And that minimum income requirement is everything you need to live the way you want, so you should include stuff like Netflix and your dream car and taking care of ten adopted pets. Your income need that we discussed in the previous section covers the basics and essentials. This number includes your needs and wants. Example: So, let’s say you need $60,000 a year to live life the way you want. Your BULB number would about 25 times that, or about $1.5 million. Yes, it sounds like a lot, but there are ways you can make your money work for you to reach that number. (Hint: give Episode 63 a listen.) Why these numbers matter right now Look, we know things are scary right now. And we feel for those of you who may have seen business slow down, or missed out on opportunities to build up your savings before the coronavirus shut everything down. As Danielle pointed out, about 26 million Americans have applied for unemployment benefits at the time of this recording — including contractors and gig workers. That number has probably increased even more while you’re reading this. However, knowing your numbers is important even when there isn’t a global pandemic running rampant. Life can throw you a curveball at any time, as we’ve seen with recent events. So you should always be prepared. In times of international or personal crises, you need to know your numbers in order to feel financially secure. You should know how much income you need to keep you and your family going. You also need to know how much to have in your emergency fund so you can continue to survive. In short, you need to Know Your Numbers, which is why we created a FREE challenge that helps you do just that. We’ll deliver these exercises right to your email so you know your numbers without a ton of overwhelming math, and you’ll know exactly what you can do today to feel more comfortable with the money you’ve got. If that floats your boat, sign up for the Know Your Numbers Challenge now! This material is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. RESOURCES & PEOPLE MENTIONED Sign up for our free Know Your Numbers challenge! Unemployment updates from MarketWatch Episode 63: Your BULB Threshold Episode 4: The Bucket Strategy The BULB Calculator Check out our DIY Financial Planning Course The Toujours Planning Blueprint to Wealth + Security Our YouTube Channel Schedule a free call with us — Are we a good fit for your financial planning needs? CONNECT WITH DANIELLE AND DUSTIN Ask Your Questions On Facebook On Twitter
7 minutes | 7 months ago
MINISODE: Tactical Advice for Businesses Affected by COVID-19
As of right now, things are looking pretty bad thanks to COVID-19. And as Dustin says in our latest minisode, things will probably get much worse. We’re not trying to scare you — we don’t need any more sources spreading fear, right? But we say this so you can prepare yourself for what’s going to happen. Preparing yourself is especially important if you’re a business owner. The reality is, many businesses will fail. If yours doesn’t, the landscape is still gonna look very different after the coronavirus pandemic eases up. That’s why you need to be prepared for the worst and ready to face the challenges to come. So, in our latest COVID-19 Crisis Series, Dustin shares three actionable tips you can take to protect your biz, your finances, and your family. Check it out. WHAT YOU’LL LEARN A quick pep talk for business owners Why you need liquidity right now “The Credit Paradox” Adapt to survive Streamline your investments and diversify your assets This material is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. RESOURCES & PEOPLE MENTIONED MINISODE: The Importance of Liquidity in a Crisis Got more time? Here’s a full episode on liquidity The Paycheck Protection Program The Economic Injury Disaster Loan Emergency Advance The bucket strategy The Toujours Planning Blueprint to Wealth + Security Our YouTube Channel Schedule a free call with us — Are we a good fit for your financial planning needs? CONNECT WITH DANIELLE AND DUSTIN Ask Your Questions On Facebook On Twitter
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