You can afford anything, but not everything. We make daily decisions about how to spend money, time, energy, focus and attention – and ultimately, our life. Every decision is a trade-off against another choice.
But how deeply do we contemplate these choices? Are we settling for the default mode? Or are we ruthlessly optimizing around a deliberate life?
Host Paula Pant interviews a diverse array of entrepreneurs, early retirees, millionaires, investors, artists, adventurers, scientists, psychologists, productivity experts, world travelers and regular people, exploring the tough work of living a truly excellent life.
Want to learn more? Download our free book, Escape, at http://affordanything.com/escape
Why Investors Need a Latticework of Ideas, with Morgan Housel
Here are three lessons from this conversation with investment writer Morgan Housel:
Lesson #1: Great investors need patience and humility.
Lesson #2: Read broadly.
Don’t just read books about finance and investing. Read from a broad multi-disciplinary array of subjects, so that you can form a latticework of ideas.
Lesson #3: Play a strong defense.
On the surface, it seems like playing defense is a conservative strategy. Emergency funds and a strong income-producing allocation, for example, both sound conservative.
But in the long-term it could prove to be the opposite.
Enjoy this interview, which originally aired in April 2018.
For more information, visit the show notes at https://affordanything.com/episode338
Habits are Overrated, with Kristen Berman
Meet Kristen Berman, a top researcher in the field of behavioral economics. She’s the co-founder of Irrational Labs, which designs products that are evidence-based in the behavioral sciences.
Her co-founder, Dan Ariely, is the James B. Duke Professor of psychology and behavioral economics at Duke University, and one of the most famous behavioral economists in the world.
Here are some of the (counterintuitive!) ideas that Kristen shares:
Habits are overrated. Automate instead Budgeting doesn’t change your spending behavior Commit in advance Forget about the outcome Focus on the process You need accountability Think about the Three B’s: behavior, barriers and benefits Tune into this episode to hear Kristen elaborate on these research-backed, evidence-based ideas about how to improve our spending, saving and investing habits.
For more information, visit the show notes at https://affordanything.com/episode337
*Note: This interview originally aired in October 2019.
Ask Paula: Should We Sell a Condo if We’re Barely Breaking Even?
#336: Anonymous and his partner have a one-bedroom condo that they rent out in Pasadena, CA. The problem? They’re barely breaking even. Should they keep the condo, or sell it and make better use of the profits?
Sam wants to know: how much of an emergency fund does a rental property need?
Michael and his wife expect their taxable income to be less than $10,000 this year. Should Michael (age 56) take distributions from his 401k to minimize or eliminate their income tax burden?
Shanon wants to switch to an ethical bank with values that align with hers. How can she create a framework for making decisions about financial institutions when authentic information is scarce?
Sharon's husband purchased a property with a below-market loan in 2008. They now have an extra $4,000 per month, and Sharon wants to buy a property as a first-time buyer. They're torn between keeping the property or selling it. What should they do?
Former financial planner Joe Saul-Sehy joins me to answer more of your questions.
Do you have a question on business, money, trade-offs, financial independence strategies, travel, or investing? Leave it here and we’ll answer them in a future episode.
For more information and resources, go to https://affordanything.com/episode336
What You Think You Want vs. What You Really Want, with Luke Burgis
Have you ever spent years studying the wrong major, climbing the ladder at the wrong company, chasing the wrong career?
Have you spent years living in the wrong city? Wrong relationship? Wrong lifestyle?
It’s hard to discern what *we think we want* from what we really want.
Society teaches us what we’re “supposed” to want. And we follow along.
The result is keeping up with the Joneses. It’s the hedonic treadmill. It’s lifestyle inflation. And it causes conflict, both within ourselves and with others.
Today’s guest, Luke Burgis, discusses mimetic desire — how our “wants” are imitative — and how we can find our deeper truths.
For more information, visit the show notes at https://affordanything.com/episode335
Ask Paula -- What Paintbrush Did Michelangelo Use? (said no one ever)
#334: In today’s episode, we answer three questions from a college senior named Rafael.
He asks about productivity tools and tactics, student debt, Robinhood and market investing, and how to establish yourself as an expert in a given domain.
We answer his questions by widening the lens.
People often ask about productivity tools. “Do you use Asana or Trello?” But nobody asked Michelangelo what paintbrush he used to paint the Sistine Chapel. The discussion around tools misses the point, which is to master the craft.
Sure, we answer his direct, overt questions. But we also dive deeper, refining these topics and exploring the questions *behind* his questions.
This is an episode in which we peel layers off the onion.
For more information, visit the show notes at https://affordanything.com/episode334
The End of Recessions?, with Ben Carlson
#333: In the 1890s and early 1900’s, we had recessions every two years.
From 2009 to 2020, we enjoyed an 11-year bull run, the longest bull run in history. And when we finally had a recession, it lasted only two months. It was the shortest recession in U.S. history.
The duration between recessions is growing longer (these days, we average 10 years between recessions, as opposed to two years at the turn of the previous century).
And when recessions strike, we recover faster. The average length of recessions is growing shorter.
What does this mean? If we project these trends into the future, are we bound for the end of recessions?
That’s the question that kicks off this discussion with Ben Carlson, Director of Institutional Asset Management at Ritzhold Wealth Management and the host of the Animal Spirits podcast.
For more information, visit the show notes at https://affordanything.com/episode333
Excellent and Underrated Podcast
Paula asks very insightful questions, explains things in a very memorable and easy way to understand, and brings in lots of value in every episode.
One of the best.
Very smart financial podcast. Nice team when Joe is visiting.
The best podcast ever