NewRetirement Podcast: Financial Independence, Purpose & Happiness — Steve Chen Interviews JD Roth

Hosted by Steve Chen, founder of NewRetirement, the NewRetirement Podcast offers interviews about the wise use of both money and time in retirement.  Explore ideas and great insight so that you can achieve a secure and meaningful future.

Episode 1 is an interview with JD Roth, the man behind Get Rich Slowly — a hugely popular blog founded by “a regular guy who has learned about money through the school of hard knocks.”

Below Roth shares some of the many epiphanies he had about money and how his ideas about financial independence were formed.  You don’t have to be making a million dollars to get rich.  You just need to be thoughtful and intentional.  Listen now! (Or review the full transcript below.)
 

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Full Transcript of Steve Chen’s Interview with JD Roth of Get Rich Slowly

[music]
Steve: All right. Welcome to the inaugural podcast for NewRetirement. Today we have JD Roth, maybe the OG personal finance blogger joining us. We’re going to be discussing financial independence, purpose, and happiness which align with the two main themes that we want our podcast to be about, making most of your money and time.

Our goal is to have guests on here that can help our audience and people who are planning for retirement or financial independence with financial insights and with ideas that help them make the most of their time. On that note, I want to introduce JD Roth who is the founder of Get Rich Slowly.

JD, if you could just give us a quick background on yourself. What I think is most interesting is how you rose from essentially the ashes of debt to achieve financial independence in less than a decade. I’d love to hear how you share more of your story behind how that happened.

JD: Sure. First of all, thanks for having me on the inaugural podcast. That’s an honor.

Steve: No problem.

JD: I grew up in rural Oregon. For our family, my family had always been poor, they didn’t know how to manage money, but they were good people, hard workers. When my parents got money, they would just spend it. It was a boom and bust cycle. I went off to college, got a psychology degree. I was always involved in literary stuff. I worked for the school newspaper, managed the literary magazine on campus. I was also very interested in computers.

All of these things are relevant the psychology, the computers, and the writing. I graduated from college, didn’t really have a plan. I was a poor planner. I did something I swore I would never do, which is to go to work for my father. He owned a business that manufactured corrugated packaging, like shipping boxes, that kind of thing. I went to work as a salesman. I graduated from college not with any student loan debt but with the start of a credit card habit. I had credit card debt.

Working for my father and getting out of my own credit card debt just grew and grew [as a problem] until by the mid-1990s, I had over $25,000 in credit card debt. At that time, I realized I had a problem so I cut up my credit cards. I still found ways to take on more consumer debt. At the very bottom in 2004, I had over $35,000 in consumer debt, credit cards, loans, that kind of thing. It was at that time, my then wife and I, we bought a new house and on paper, I could afford it. The reality is once I moved in and I was saddled with all the debt that I was struggling with and trying to pay the new mortgage interest and take care of things I just felt like I was drowning. I sat down one night in October of 2004, and I drew up this plan to get out of debt. This is because a couple friends had realized that I was struggling and they loaned me some books. They loaned me Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover and a book called Your Money or Your Life by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin.

I read those, decided I needed a plan. I sat down and formulated a plan for getting out of debt. I wanted to be out of debt by December 2007. I started reading more and more about personal finance. At this time I had a personal blog where I wrote about cats, computers, and comic books, I always say it but it’s true. I wasn’t writing about anything serious. I read all these books about money, about investing.

I thought I saw a theme, in the past, I’d always wanted to find quick ways out of debt, quick ways to get rich. I wanted to get rich quickly. What I felt like was these books were saying was that there is no reliable way to get rich quickly, you just can’t do it. There’s no one way to do it, sometimes it happens but it’s luck. There are reliable ways to get rich slowly.  I thought that was a pretty clever concept, get rich slowly.

I decided I would start a website called Get Rich Slowly to document my progress getting out of debt and maybe it would make a little money along the way. It turns out, it made a lot of money; for whatever reason people really attached to my writing. Over the next three years that I owned the site, I not only got out of debt (I got out of debt exactly on target December 2007) but I was able to quit my day job and work full time on the website and then eventually sell it. That is the extended version of my story there.

Steve: It’s an awesome story. I think for our audience a lot of folks are thinking about how do they achieve financial independence as they go through traditional retirement at 50 to 60 years old. They’ve been working saving money; now they have to figure out how am I going to live on the savings and the other resources they have for the rest of their life. As you are going on this journey of achieving financial independence, any big highlights in terms of events or people that you met along the way that you felt were of a big impact for you?

JD: They were so many. I was having epiphanies constantly. Once I stopped looking for quick fixes and started taking a long view in trying to figure out, “How does this money stop or work?” I would have all sorts of epiphanies from books, from conversations with people in real life and from the interactions I had with my readers. Now, I was in a very fortunate situation that I became financially independent because I sold the website I started. I sold Get Rich Slowly and I sold it for a large sum of money that allowed me to become financially independent.

Now, I would have become financially independent anyway because it was making a lot of money but I just accelerated the process. I would say, some of the people that really influenced me, a lot of them have come in a time after I sold the site before I repurchased it. I recently repurchased Get Rich Slowly. For example, I think many of your listeners might be familiar with the fellow called Mr. Money Mustache, he runs a blog called Mr. Money Mustache.

Before meeting Mr. Money Mustache and talking with him, I had not really latched onto this idea of financial independence or really embraced the idea of early retirement. I thought that was like a pipe dream but the more I talked with him and the more I read his material and the more I came to understand his worldview, the more I realized, “Well, this is something that average people can pursue if it’s what they want.”

Steve: Many of our listeners may not be familiar with Mr. Money Mustache and when I first heard his name, I had the same reaction that our sound engineer is having which is I had a laugh.
[laughter]

Steve: I was like, “Is this a joke?” Actually what happened was a guy who’s interested in being an advisor, an investor was like, “Hey. Have you heard of the site called Mr. Money Mustache?” I’m like, “I don’t know. It sounds ridiculous,” but I was like, “This guy has two million visitors a month going to his site and then the last 12-18 months [he’s grown even more].” I know he’s been around for a while but just for background for folks, he really preaches about achieving financial independence and being able to retire early through really efficient living and has a very interesting story and very useful, pragmatic steps that people can take to really achieve financial independence and he’s done it. Pretty amazing person.

JD: Well, the thing that I think that he has done is really change the course of conversation online regarding money and saving for retirement because before, most advisors recommended saving 10% of your income towards retirement or maybe if they are aggressive say 20%. When you save at those rates, it’s going to take you 40 or 50 years to save for retirement. That’s why we have a standard retirement age of about 65. What Mr. Money Mustache did, was sit down and say, “Now look, this is the standard assumption that we have in this society but it doesn’t have to be this way. What if you saved more? What if you boosted your savings rate so that you are saving half your income or 70% of your income?”

I know those numbers might sound crazy to some of your listeners but he sat down and he showed the math and he’s like, “If you’re able to do this, especially if you start at a young age, if you are able to save half your income or 70% of your income, you don’t have to work for 40 or 50 years before you retire or before you decide to do something else. You can actually work for a much shorter period of time, for perhaps 10 or 15 years.” That was a huge mind-blowing realization when I looked at the numbers because this is not a scam or anything. It’s real, it’s just math. When you look at the math and you actually process it, you’re like, “Wow, why hasn’t anybody ever taught us this?”

Steve: When I look at what he is doing, I feel like he is like some super celebrity fitness guy that has unachievable physique but there’s-
[laughter]

Steve: – there are still elements of what he is doing that you can apply. Like in my life, our cars are now seven years old and 10 years old, we try to reuse things as much as we can. I think just really being thoughtful and intentional about how we spend money and what we’re spending it on so I think he’s got some really good lessons. When I read that he feeds his family of four for $25,000 or $30,000 a year I’m like, “That is amazing but probably not realistic for me personally but he has some great ideas.”

I want to ask you another question. One thing that I found really interesting about you is that you are really writing about personal finance and helping people make better choices but I also know that a big thing for you is purpose, like helping people figure out what should they be doing with their time and their lives and I’m wondering if you could elaborate on that a little bit.

JD: For me, I have a money blog. As I said, I recently repurchased Get Rich Slowly. I should mention that it’s getrichslowly.org, not getrichslowly.com because it’s a completely different website. I write about money, I mentioned at the start of the show that I have a degree in psychology. I’ve always been interested in the pursuit of happiness. What does it mean to be happy? What does it take to be happy?

Even though I’m writing about money, I say what I’m actually writing about is the pursuit of happiness. From my reading and my experience, the best way to achieve well-being is to have a sense of purpose and to pursue that purpose and to build your life around that purpose. I know that sounds new agey, maybe a little hokey and I don’t mean it in a hokey, new age way.
I mean it a very real way. As long ago as Aristotle thousands of years ago up to modern day psychologists have found that when you have a purpose, when you have a direction in your life and you build your life around it, you tend to be much more fulfilled. It’s easier to make decisions with your money, with your time, with your friends, with everything if you know what it is you want to accomplish out of life.

I don’t think there’s any one right purpose that’s right for everybody. For some people your purpose might be your family, for other people it might be travel, for others that might be serving a higher calling, whether that’s a God or some other purpose like serving others. It doesn’t really matter. I urge my readers, Steve, to get clear on what their purpose is so they can make better financial decisions.

Steve: One interesting thing is that the rates of depression actually go up when people retire because they lose a lot of the benefits that they have from work that they might not have been aware of like the social connections, the sense of purpose, the daily activity, just being out and about suddenly that goes away and your life is suddenly different. Thinking about that ahead of time is super important.

I think that’s one thing that I’ve taken away from the FIRE community. Something just for background there’s something called Financial Independence Retirement Early. That’s what Mr. Money Mustache is about, what JD has accomplished, which is folks have found a way to save enough money and instead of retiring at 60, 65, 70 years old. They’re retiring at 35, 40, 45 years old but they’re really thinking hard about what am I going to do with my life once I’m financially independent. Something instead of play golf all day. They’re thinking hard about like, “Now, I have independence so I can choose what I spend my time on.”

JD: I’m going to just define financial independence a little more clearly in case your listeners are unfamiliar with it. Financial independence is essentially the state where you have enough money saved that given rates of inflation and expected returns on investment. You have enough money to support your current expenses for the rest of your life. It’s essentially the same thing as retiring because people retire at 65 because they have enough money, or at 70 or whatever the age is, because they have enough money saved that it should support them for the rest of their expected lifespan. Financial independence is the same thing. It might be happening to different stage in life.

For me, early retirement and financial independence are the same thing. A lot of people want to argue that if you’re working in any way, you’re not actually retired. I consider myself retired even though I work eight hours a day but I’m working at something that I love and I don’t have to be doing the job. To me, I’m still retired but a lot of people would argue that I’m not. I’ll get that so we talk about financial independence instead as a way to differentiate that.

You mentioned that people can get depressed once they get into retirement because they lose the infrastructure they had before. I think that’s a very important point because I’m 48 almost 49, I’m not to 65 yet but from my reading, a lot of retirees struggle because their purpose was given to them by their job or by whatever came before. All of a sudden that has been stripped away and they don’t have a purpose.

They’re left floundering for a period of time until they discover a new purpose. I think it can be great for people of all ages to figure out, what is my overall goal in life? What is my objective? That makes it so that once you do go into retirement, you’re not left wondering, “What do I do now?” You know because you figure out what your purpose is.

Steve: When I think about my own life, it’s like grow up, a middle-class person, went to college and in college, I did lots of naval gazing and thinking about, “Hey, what do I want to do with my life?”

JD: [laughs]

Steve: Yes, I was actually a computer science person and I was a systems engineer which is like electrical engineering and computer science but I think if I had to do it all over again, I would have been an economist and a computer science person. It was interesting as you think a lot about it, then you got a job and then you’re making money. Then for me, it’s like, “Okay, getting married, having kids,” and bang, 10 years goes by and I’m 48 years old. I’ve got a 16-year-old, a 14-year-old, and an 8-year-old.

It’s like time is flying by. The idea of really thinking hard about, “How do I want to spend my life?” because I can see it going by quickly is something that I’m thinking about more now. I think for a lot of folks, they think about this in college, they think about it approaching retirement, or if they achieved financial independence, they’re like, “Okay, let’s be more intentional about it,” and there is actually some data here that for traditional retirement, a white-collar worker; they will be back at consulting, volunteering, or a small business, some type of engaged work like activity within two and a half years of traditional retirement. People typically actually jump back into it.

JD: That’s not because they have to do it financially. I think it’s because they’re looking for something to do.

Steve: That’s right. That’s exactly right. For our listeners, I met up with JD face to face at a conference called FinCon in Dallas back in October. We had breakfast and it was great to meet him face to face. One thing he shared and I thought it would be interesting for our audience here is, you told me that in your family, healthcare is an issue and life expectancy is an issue. I was wondering–

JD: Yes, this gets deep and heavy– For whatever reason, the men on my father side of the family do not live long. No, my grandfather did, he lived until 80 something but his older son died at like 53, my uncle. My dad died at 49.

Steve: Wow.

JD: I had a cousin who died at 46. I have another cousin who’s 53 right now and struggling with cancer. The men on my father side of the family die young. I’ve just had this premonition that that’s going to happen to me too. It makes me nervous and so I go and I have colonoscopies. I had my first one at 40 and another one at 45. I make every five years. The doctors think I’m a little neurotic about it. I’m worried, you know?

This actually changes how I frame things. I want to live a long life. I hope that I live until 80 years old. Statistically, I would live to be 76, or 78, or whatever it is. Based on that, I need to make sure my money will last that long. At the same time, because I know my family history, I also don’t want to just sit here and not enjoy life. I want to do things. I want to go places. I want to use the money that I have now to actually experience life. There’s this really delicate balance that I’m struggling to find and it’s been very challenging.

Steve: There’s a friend of mine. He’s in his late 50’s, he’s a senior executive. He saved millions of dollars but his wife is ill. Their plan was, “Hey, I’ll retire around now and then travel and then do other things.” All that could be very changed and he thought about retiring a couple of years ago – I think I’m sure now he would have liked to have done that to just have the time. The one resource that we have that we can’t get back is time.

I’m hearing more people talk about sabbaticals or mini-retirement. Hopefully, we all live a long time and we have longer health spans. Is it a better idea to take mini-retirements along the way? I know Michael Kitces talks about this. I’m just wondering if you have any thoughts about it?

JD: I recently, not recently, I guess it’s been six, seven years now, I got a divorce a few years ago – still on relatively good terms with my ex-wife. Then I started dating another girl. We were talking and we came to the realization that my girlfriend, Kim, Kim and I both have always had the dream of traveling United States. It’s just never been practical to do it. I was like, “You know what? I have a chunk of change. I’m nearing this death date that the men in my family had. If you’re up for it Kim, I think it will be awesome if you would just quit your job, we’ll buy an RV, and travel around the United States.”

That’s what we did. We took 15 months off. We thought it was only going to be three months, then six months, and then it turned into 15 months. We took this huge chunk of time off. Basically, it’s a sabbatical or mini-retirement and we traveled around the United States and we had a blast. It was probably the best thing I’ve ever done in my life. Kim talks about it all the time. She might come home tonight, actually, and say, “I’m so tired from work.

It would be great to be back on the road again.” That’s my experience with it. I know that a number of other people, you mentioned Michael Kitsis. I also had a colleague who writes at MontanaMoneyAdventures.com, and Jillian, she’s actually very dialed into this mini-retirement stuff. She and her family just took one so she has experience with it and she’s been writing about it and sharing her experiences and experiences of other people.

To me, I don’t know what the difference between a sabbatical and a mini-retirement is. I think those two things, they’re both very useful. I would also suggest to you a concept called semi-retirement which is something that I learned about from Bob Clyatt who wrote a book called, Work Less, Live More. Work Less, Live More, is all about moving to semi-retirement instead of full-fledged retirement.

What he means by semi-retirement is intentionally scaling back your work life so you’re only working 10 or 20 hours a week. Basically, working part-time. Doing that, making that a conscious choice and not just giving up work entirely because he recognizes that work brings purpose to people and gives you social interaction. I would encourage your listeners to maybe check out Work Less, Live More also.

Steve: By the way, I do see that out here in Silicon Valley, you see people that maybe they get liquidity, they sell a company or something like that and they take a chunk of time off. I’m also seeing more and more people as they are getting a little bit older, really thinking hard about that work-life balance and is there a way to get more schedule control. I think that’s the biggest thing.

You see people out here that are working 80, 100 hours a week, and I’ve done this in my life, too; it’s all-consuming. Is there another path where you can still work hard, do meaningful work, but also be more available to your family? You don’t get this time back. You can crank your whole life, look up, your kids are in their twenties, in college; you have a pile of money, but have you really made the most for your own life and for them?

JD: Yes, this is something, I think, I feel like people struggle with this, not at all ages. I don’t think young people necessarily struggle with the work-life balance because they haven’t reached that point yet. By the time you get to your early or mid-thirties, it’s definitely something that comes up. My girlfriend’s brother owns a couple of hotels outside of Yosemite. He’s really been struggling with this lately too, because he has two young children.

What he wants to do is spend time with his kids, and yet these two hotels take up so much of his time. The question he’s asking himself, I don’t think he’s actually articulated it in this way, I’m just reframing it for him. He’s wondering, “How much is enough? How much money do I actually need? At what point am I just earning more money and the time is actually more valuable than the money would be?” It’s a tough question. Everyone’s got to figure it out for themselves.

Steve: The problem is that nobody knows how long they’re going to live. The risks are: how long will I live, what’s going to happen with inflation, what’s going to happen with market returns and healthcare costs. People that are savers and planners, they’re more conservative and they keep going and saving and that’s what happened with our friend. He could have retired at 55 and traveled the world, but he was like, “I’ll keep going.” Then at 57, it’s like, “My life is likely to be very different now and I wish I had that time back.”

What’s interesting if you look at the data is that the people that do save money, they tend to keep increasing their net worth over time. Some of them actually just keep increasing it. They basically make more in returns than they spend. They get conservative. You retire at 60 with a million dollars or a million and a half bucks, and then at 80, you’re sitting on three to four million dollars, but you didn’t necessarily take full advantage of it. I think helping people find better ways to enjoy what they’ve got, either themselves or give it to causes they care about. That’s something that we want to help our audience be thoughtful about, and also do the math on it and figure out.

JD: Are you familiar with the work of George Kinder?

Steve: I’ve actually read and when I search for those terms, Kinder’s three questions, your blog comes up first. [laughs] We want to add it to our software. Yes, why don’t you go ahead and share because I think the questions are great.

JD: Okay, George Kinder, he’s a financial planner. He considers himself a life planner because he’s trying to look at the big picture, not just the financial stuff. He has a series of three questions that he asks his clients. I’ll make a caveat here that I thought these were original to Kinder and then I found I was reading a book by this time management guru called Allen Lakine from the 1970’s and those questions are in there.

These aren’t actually Kinder’s questions. He’s the one who brought him to the realm of money, I think. I’ll just have to remember this at the top of my head. First of all, these questions are designed to help you figure out what’s important in your life, not necessarily to find the purpose but to make sure that you’re not wasting your time and your money on things that aren’t important. It’s three questions and they each follow from each other.

The first question is basically, what are my lifetime goals? Imagine that you have all the money that you ever needed, what would you do with the rest of your life? The object here is to sit down and spend five minutes just brainstorming. What would I do with the rest of my life? Not worrying about anybody else’s expectations, just what do you want out of life? Spend five minutes writing those down, maybe spend a few minutes reviewing them, making changes, and then move on to the next question.

The next question is, how would I like to spend the next five years? Now, this question doesn’t assume that you have unlimited funds. This is your in real time, right now or your resources, your current life. What do you want to do with your next five years? You shouldn’t list what you think you should do or what you will do but what you want to do. Don’t judge yourself, just be honest. Again, take about five minutes to answer that question.

Then the final question, this is the one that usually gets people, it’s how would you live if you knew that you’re going to be dead in six months? Imagine that your doctor said, “I’m sorry, Steve but it looks like you’ve got this new mysterious disease and six months from today, you’re just going to drop dead. There’s no cure, there’s nothing you can do.” How would you spend your time? What would you regret not having done? How would you spend your last six months?

Those three questions combined. You probably found the video of George Kinder presenting this online, probably on YouTube. Those three questions are designed to lead a person through a broad, big picture thing and then narrow it down to what is really important. Generally, people realize, “What’s really important is my family. It is my time with my friends,” and so on.

Steve: I think it’s really that the third question is like, “Hey, if you have limited resources or time, what would you do?” That’s really what points you to like, “Hey, this is what’s most important?” There’s data out there that says, “Hey, the key to happiness is your social network, your community of friends and family.”

JD: Absolutely.

Steve: There’s hedonic adoption out there, right? People can get tons and tons of money, they start buying nicer and nicer things, and then they find, “They get used to those nicer things.” They’re not really happy. You can have people who don’t have a lot of money or societies that don’t have lots of money and they’re perfectly happy and content. You see countries like Costa Rica, like Brazil, they have happier populations.

JD: There was a blog post that was very popular a number of years ago by this palliative care nurse named Bronnie Ware. I think she’s from Australia. Basically, she’s been working with people who are in near death for a long time. She began to see patterns in the regrets that they express near the end of their lives. She said there are basically five common regrets. The number one regret was, I wish I hadn’t worked so hard. People, especially men, would find that they have been trapped in the rat race and they had spent so much time working that they didn’t spend their time doing the things that are most important.

The second thing that they regretted is that they didn’t have the courage to express their feelings. They were so scared and caught up in what other people would think that they kept their emotions bottled inside. The third thing goes right along with what you just said, people wished that they had stayed in touch with their friends. This is something I’m wrestling with right now because of the RV trip, because of the divorce, I’ve lost my social network. I don’t have a lot of close friends anymore or I don’t have contact with them. I regret that.

The fourth thing was people wished that they had let themselves to be happier. I think this is an interesting one because it shows that happiness really is a choice. It’s not just about what happens to you. It’s about how you decide to react to things. One of the regrets the dying people wished that they had allowed themselves to be more positive and to react in a– Or just to be happy with what is going on around them.

The final thing was people wished they had the courage to live a life truly themselves instead of doing what other people expected of them. I think that one is huge, at least for me, because for so long I was a people pleaser. I just did what other people want or what I thought other people wanted. It wasn’t until I let go of that and just started doing what I wanted and not being a jerk – I’m not saying you should be a jerk to other people but focus on what’s important to you and not trying to please others. That’s how you find happiness. I think these regrets to the dying are very interesting.

Steve: Just real quick as we wrap up here, love to get any more thoughts from you about the future of Get Rich Slowly. I saw that you wanted to do like 500 posts in 2018 which seemed really ambitious. Where do you see taking it? Where do you want to be in the next few years? Any great resources that you’re using when you build it or you think our audience would find valuable?

JD: Again, I started Get Rich Slowly in 2006 as a way to share my journey out of debt. When I got out of the debt, when I was out of debt and I had enough money saved, I sold it. I never intended to buy it back. I never even knew there was a possibility and then that opportunity fell in my lap recently and I was able to buy it back for much less than I paid or I got for selling it. I am just having fun going out there every day trying to find the best information I can about personal finance and then sharing that with my readers.

It has been a kick, actually. I’ve been back at it for two months and I’m really sad I future’s going and, like you said in 2018, I want to publish 500 articles which does seem ambitious. I think it’s doable. We’ll see.

Steve: Yes, well, good luck. I struggle to write like once a month or once every two weeks. [chuckles] Also, we’re going–

JD: But see, what gives me meaning and purpose is writing. Get Rich Slowly really is this culmination. At the start of the show, I mentioned that I was into computers, I was into writing and I was into psychology, and then I had the financial issues. All four of these things just kind of merged in this one beautiful weird thing that wouldn’t be possible without the internet. It’s just a place for me to, I guess, fulfill my purpose.

Steve: We’re in the age of the super-empowered individual and [laughs] I think it’s pretty cool, like yourself or Mr. Money Mustache. You can be out there and touching millions of people with your ideas and build a following and have a great, I think also, dialogue with folks back and forth. I know for our business, it’s amazing watching people build retirement plans and think about their future. We get all kinds of great feedback and ideas from them about not just the money stuff but also life stuff and the whole idea is to facilitate people learning from people that have gone before them and help the people that coming behind to make better choices and have much better outcomes.

Last question here, any predictions for 2018 as we go in here about what you see coming across either the financial markets or political landscape or anything like that?

JD: I’m the wrong person to ask. I intentionally bury my head in the sand because I find that exposing myself to too much news, it makes me unhappy and too much financial news doesn’t actually help me make better decisions with my money. If I were to hazard a prediction, I would say that we’ve been riding an upward market for a long, long time. I don’t want to say that we’re due for a correction but it would not surprise me if sometime in the next year or two, we experience some of that or a recession.

It’s just it bound to happen. These things do happen and it’s been so long since we had one. I guess that would be my prediction if you wanted me to give you a prediction.

Steve: Sure, I appreciate that I think it’s interesting on the money side here – I was talking to one of our users earlier today and he’s saved up $400,000 but he’s in his sixties. He’s like well, “I’ve been sitting on the sidelines for the last 10 years and so I feel like an idiot for doing that.” I was like, “Hey, you know what, you’re in good company.” 58% of retirement savings is in cash right now.

JD: Holy mo– really?

Steve: Yes, that’s the wall of worry that keeps this market going actually. I think there’s tons of cash on the sidelines, who knows? I —

JD: He has $400,000 in cash and he’s not been in the market?

Steve: Yes, right. I think that a lot of people got burned in 2008, 2009. They freaked out. They were like, “Wow, the market got cut in half. I’m out.” Then the market’s been shooting back up and people are like, “Should I jump back in or it has already gone too high and might come back [down].” That keeps a lot of people paralyzed. We’re probably have a whole other podcast on this.

JD: I always think of what Warren Buffett says, “Be greedy when others are fearful, and be fearful when others are greedy.” What he means by that is the time to sell is not when the market’s down but when the market’s up, and the time to buy is when the market’s down not when the market’s up.

Steve: Unfortunately, most retail investors do the exact opposite. You can’t get the emotion out of it. That’s actually where an advisor or a coach is most valuable, where they can talk you off the cliff and then hopefully get you to buy when there’s “Blood in the streets”, that’s when you want to buy.

JD: Blood in the streets.

Steve: All right. Well, JD this has been awesome. I want to say thank you for being our first guest. Also thanks to Davorin Robison for being our sound engineer. Anyone who’s listening, thank you for listening. Hopefully, you found this useful. Our goal at NewRetirement is to help anyone plan and manage their retirement so they can make the most of their money and time. You can find free retirement planning tools on our site, lay out your vision for the future, and the idea is that it’s a living plan that you can maintain over time.
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