Welcome to the Personal Profitability Podcast!
Personal profitability has four main pillars that allow you to reach your goals through thoughtful personal finance. If you follow along and give it your all, you can live a very rich life, even if you don’t have millions in the bank.
I strongly believe that everyone can benefit through these ideas, and I implement them in my life every single day. As you join me at Narrow Bridge Finance and progress in your own personal profitability project, you will see our bank accounts slowly being to rise, your debt get smaller and smaller, and your income steadily rise.
In this podcast we'll learn how to spend mindfully, earn more, grow our wealth, and live a better life through personal finance success.
PPP 130: Harlan Landes on The Plutus Foundation
Hey everyone, this week we're welcoming back Harlan Landes from The Plutus Foundation! If you missed Harlan's last visit here, make sure to check out our previous podcast together, recorded live at FinCon. But today, we're here to talk about The Plutus Foundation. Tune in to the podcast to learn how they're helping people get better with their finances, and how you can help too!
What We’re Chatting About This Week
The Plutus Awards started out as the FinCon industry awards among the finance blogging community. It's kind of like the Academy Awards of finance blogging. Just to toot my own horn for a moment, I was nominated twice for The Plutus Award for Best Freelancer/Contributor of the year!
The Plutus Foundation has grown into a great non-profit that does a lot of projects and fundings around the country. Harlan has been writing about personal finance and financial literacy for over a decade and started The Plutus Foundation just a few years ago.
Many years ago, Harlan worked for a non-profit 80 hours a week and wasn't even getting paid enough to afford rent and his bills. After losing his housing, his job, and his girlfriend, he needed to figure out a way to get back on track. In the process, he started a personal finance blog called Consumerism Commentary to talk about his money issues. He used the blog to share financial knowledge and to track his own net worth to hold himself accountable. Helping people with their money issues is now the focus of his Plutus Foundation.
The Plutus Foundation
The Plutus Foundation is a way to reach out to finance bloggers and podcasters who have projects that they want to work on. If a blogger wants to go into their community and work with people to spread the word on financial literacy, we try to help them out.
Our first grant went to Eva Baker, who has a website called Teens Got Cents. She is passionate about helping other teens learn about personal finance and works closely with students in her program as they progress. Getting started early with financial education is so important, and that's why The Plutus Foundation is supporting Eva in her efforts.
Another project The Plutus Foundation supports is Amanda Grossman's Mt. Everest Money Simulation, which is a great interactive way to teach budgeting and money management. We also sponsor events like Heroes At Home, which is an event for military members to help them learn how to manage their money, pay off debt, and build savings.
How You Can Help The Plutus Foundation
If you'd like to contribute, The Plutus Foundation has a campaign they're running until the end of the year. They have plenty of grants and programs in store, including Plutus Voices which will be unrolling in 2019. We'll be hearing from voices we don't normally hear from in personal finance, and cover topics we don't normally talk about. They need your support in order to make those things happen, and they are hoping to raise $10,000 by the end of the year. The Plutus Foundation's direct beneficiaries are finance bloggers and podcasters, so your contributions will help them spread financial literacy even further.
To donate, head to The Plutus Foundation to learn more about Giving Tuesday and to contribute whatever you are comfortable with. This is a non-profit that is near and dear to my heart, so if you have learned anything valuable from listening to this podcast, I hope you will pay it forward and consider a contribution!
PPP129: How We Structure Our Masterminds With Sean Merron
Hey profiteers! This week Sean Merron is back for his last episode of the month. We're diving into mastermind groups and we'll talk about our history with them. Masterminds have been a huge part of my online success and why I'm able to make six-figures while working from home. Listen to this episode to find out how Sean and I structure our mastermind groups, it's full of great tips!
What We’re Chatting About This Week
Today, Sean and I are going to talk about our own mastermind groups. I’ve been in masterminds for about 8 years now, and Sean has been in mastermind groups for quite a while himself.
Sean is in a mastermind group of software engineers. He met other software developers who had a passion for entrepreneurship, and they formed a mastermind group to help with both business and personal development.
The second group Sean is in is a personal finance content creators’ group, with members he met at FinCon. It’s a great way to network and develop relationships with other personal finance bloggers, Podcasters, and YouTubers.
I also have three mastermind stories to share. The first one goes back to the first FinCon I ever attended. A guy named Jeff Freeworth came up to me, asked if I wanted to start a mastermind group, and we became the best of friends. We started a mastermind with Shane Ede from Beating Broke, and it lasted for quite a few years. Phil Taylor (founder of FinCon) was even part of our group for a while, as well as other FinCon members.
Another mastermind group I’m part of consists of online dad entrepreneurs. Our main topic is business but we also talk about personal issues, mental health, kids…pretty much everything!
The latest mastermind started about a month before the most recent FinCon, so only about a few months now. We help each other address business problems, it’s similar to the first mastermind I was in.
How We Structure Our Mastermind Groups
Sean structures his mastermind groups in a few different ways. In his software developer group, they do a “round robin” in which all three members get to speak every meeting. Each person gets 30 minutes to discuss their business and personal wins, what they are currently working on, and then a problem they need help with. We all leave the meeting with accountability goals we hope to achieve.
Sean’s other mastermind consists of 12 people, so doing a round robin is difficult. To make it beneficial for everyone, they always have 2 people in the hot seat for 30 minutes each and rotate for the next meeting. Each hot seat member is asked to share a tool or tip, whether they met their accountability goal or not, and what problems they are currently dealing with.
For both of my current mastermind groups, we use a hot seat format. One person gets the hot seat for the entire hour, and we rotate each meeting. After we finish a whole rotation, we’ll do a quarterly goals update call.
We use a format in which every person needs to complete an outline before their hot seat. The other members will read the outline beforehand so we know what will be discussed. There’s a section to write down what you need help with, and a section to put some information about the situation.
During the call, group members can ask questions to clarify the situation, and we’ll have a “gut reaction” period where each member gets two minutes to give the hot seat member their solution to the problem. After everyone responds, we will have a “synthesis” period where we have an open discussion and talk about what we will do by the next meeting. This format works great because it keeps everyone focused and gives us a lot of value.
It’s very important in these mastermind meetings to be respectful of other people’s time and to make sure we are both giving value and getting value. It’s also important to make sure you participate instead of just sitting back and letting other members take responsibility.
PPP128: 3 Steps to Get Started on Your FIRE Plan
Hey profiteers, in this episode we're back for week 3 with my Mastermind Hunt co-founder, Sean Merron. Today we’re here to talk about FIRE, or financial independence and retiring early. We touched upon this two weeks ago, so if you haven’t checked out that episode, go ahead and listen to that first. We'll talk about what you can do to cut your expenses and grow your income, so you can retire in your 40s or even 30s!
What We’re Chatting About This Week
FIRE is a huge movement with a lot of people involved, including Sean. He’s on track for FIRE in his 30s, and today we’re going to pick his brain and get some of his expertise on the matter. Let’s dive into his 3 tips to help you get on track with your own FIRE plan!
Understand Your Expenses
It’s important to know where you are today in order to make improvements for the future. Even more important is accepting where you are today. You have to get over that fear of pulling up your credit card account and seeing how much you owe. So go ahead and pull up all of your accounts, run a free credit report, and understand where your money is going.
Sean uses Mint, which is a free tool you can use to monitor all your accounts and transactions in one place. He categorizes all of his transactions into different budget categories. This will give you a better sense of where your money is going. From here, you can set a budget for each category. Also, check out my guide on how to build your own personal balance sheet to help you track your money.
Get Your Mind Right and Know Your End Goal
Make sure you keep your goal in mind and don’t let yourself get distracted. Also, figure out what your early retirement roadmap looks like. What are you going to do when you retire? Why do you want to retire early? How much money do you need? What will you do with your money? Ask yourself those questions. Once you have your end goal, you can just fill in the steps to get there.
Controlling your emotions is another key part to getting your mind right. For example, if the stock market isn't doing too well, don't let it get the best of your emotions. Accept the situation and come up with a plan to move forward.
Accelerating to Pace to Early Retirement
If you are on pace to retire at 65, but you want to retire much sooner, there are a couple things you need to consider. First, you need to consider expenses- how much you will need to retire. Then you have your income- consider how much you can increase your savings towards retirement.
On the expense side, cutting back on your housing costs is a big way to save. Cutting back on utilities and eating out are also great ideas. Since you can only cut back your expenses so much, earning more is a faster way to accelerate your retirement plans.
It's very possible to retire early with your 401K or Roth IRA savings if you are an employee. But if you are a self-employed business owner, that's a faster way to retire. Think outside the box, come up with a side hustle to earn more on the side!
Side note: If you're interested in early retirement, check out this great post by Jeremy Biberdorf of Modest Money. He shares how to use a conversion ladder technique in order to gain access to your retirement funds before age 59 ½ without penalty!
This Week's Guest
I'm the author of The Early Retirement Roadmap, creator of a href="http://fireagecalc.
PPP127: 5 Ways Mastermind Groups Can Help Your Money
Hey profiteers, today we're back with Sean Merron, co-founder of Mastermind Hunt. That's the app we co-founded together to help people find mastermind groups to join. If you missed last week's episode with Sean, make sure you go back and listen to that first. Then come back here to listen to this week's podcast! This podcast will be particularly helpful for entrepreneurs and side hustlers, but you'll still benefit if you're not. If you just want a team to help you get inspired, give you fresh ideas about money, and hold you accountable, mastermind groups are great for that too!
So tune in now for our mastermind tips and get the code for your FREE month of Mastermind Hunt!
What We’re Chatting About This Week
Sean and I are the co-founders of Mastermind Hunt, and we’re chatting about how mastermind groups can help your money. Both of us have had entrepreneurial and personal interactions with mastermind groups, and we’re really excited to get right into it!
Without further ado, here are our top 5 tips!
Someone to Keep You Accountable
Telling your mastermind group members your goals helps keep you accountable. It also keeps you motivated and excited about hitting your goals. If you don’t have anyone to hold you accountable, chances are you’ll keep deferring your goals and end up finishing much later (if at all).
If you’re writing a book and you tell your mastermind group you’ll finish 2 chapters of your book by the next time you meet, you’ll hear about it from your group members if you don’t hit that goal!
Getting Into Good Habits
It’s important to break bad habits and form good ones. For example, not logging onto Twitter first thing each morning would probably help you reach your goals faster.
Getting organized and scheduling are other areas many people have a hard time with. If you’re a morning person and have more energy early in the day, don’t waste your time on Twitter first thing in the morning. Start with your most important task first thing in the morning and get that done.
Another good habit is making a to-do list every morning. Number that list in order of most to least important and make sure you finish the tasks your list. Your mastermind group can give you more suggestions and keep you accountable for continuing these good habits.
Fresh Ideas for the Problem
If you have a problem you are trying to solve, you can bring it up in your mastermind group. You have your own ideas, but your group members may have different ideas and you might not always agree. But the great thing is all these fresh ideas can lead to an even better solution.
Go into your mastermind group with an open mind and listen to everyone’s perspective. Some people may have less or more experience in a given niche, but diversity is important. A newbie can offer a simple solution, whereas someone more seasoned may offer a more complex solution. It’s valuable to have these different levels of experience.
Partnerships and Opportunities
Mastermind groups can create business opportunities you might otherwise never encounter. Maybe you’ll meet your next business partner, or maybe you’ll find a six-figure job opportunity in your mastermind group (yes, this all really happened in our groups).
Another benefit is the opportunity to cross-promote your business, it’s a great way to help each other succeed. Mastermind groups emphasize collaboration, not competition.
Lifestyle Upgrades From Other’s Mistakes
Benefit from other people’s mistakes! If you share your mistakes or failures with your group, everyone can learn from them, and vice versa. If you want to try something new, chances are someone in your group has already done it. They can give you advice to help you avoid their mistakes, but also keep in mind the context of their situation and how it might vary from your own situation.
This Week's Guest
PPP126: Mastermind Groups and F.I.R.E. With Sean Merron
Please welcome this month's guest, Sean Merron! Sean is not only a friend of mine, but we actually co-founded a company together called Mastermind Hunt. You may have heard me talking about Mastermind Hunt before, which is a platform that connects people together to run mastermind groups. Please check it out, and listen to this podcast to get a code for a FREE month of Mastermind Hunt!
Now let's get back to Sean. He's going to be talking to us about masterminds, financial independence, and his plans to retire by 34! We'll find out about all those things in today's Personal Profitability Podcast, so make sure to tune in.
What We’re Chatting About This Week
Sean has been working full-time as a software engineer for the past 15 years. When he discovered the concept of financial indepedence/retire early (FIRE) about 7 years ago, he decided to do everything he could to make that happen, including side hustles to make more money. He also became very passionate about personal finance and started a podcast called 2 Frugal Dudes, as well as his site The Early Retirement Roadmap. He also joined mastermind groups, and one group member convinced him to attend FinCon. We met at FinCon, became friends, and the rest is history!
Mastermind Hunt is something we created together, with Sean and his software development background, and my finance and marketing background. It launched this year at FinCon, a little over a month ago. Sean also started another mastermind group at the first FinCon he attended. He knew from experience that finding other people with similar goals and holding each other accountable for those goals was very beneficial.
He decided that starting a mastermind group with people he met at FinCon was the perfect opportunity to keep in touch and get to know them personally. The connections made in his mastermind group helped him and his fellow group members immensely, and really helped establish himself in the personal finance community.
Personal Finance Philosophy
If you couldn't tell by the name of Sean's podcast and site, 2 Frugal Dudes and The Early Retirement Roadmap, he is all about lean spending and bigger savings. But that wasn't always the case.
Out of high school, Sean got a job doing tech support for a bank and making $40,000 a year. For a 17 year old, that was a sizeable amount of money. With that, came opportunities to spend more money on a fancy new car, a big house, and other luxuries. After a while, Sean and his wife realized that they were oblivious to their finances. Once he discovered the concept of early retirement, he started doing everything he could to make it happen. This included being extremely frugal at first, but they were able to pay off $80,000 in debt! He and his wife are now feeling pretty good where they're at, and are on target for their early retirement.
The Early Retirement Roadmap
When Sean decided to pursue early retirement, he first set up his long term goals, like what type of lifestyle he wanted to have. Then he determined what his expenses were, where he could cut back, and how much he needed to save. As he started accumulating wealth, he then determined his investment plan. He needed to decide what type of funds to invest in, what tax advantages he could have, and his portfolio as a whole. The most important thing is to write down a plan and stick to it. When he shared his plans with others, he was encouraged to turn his knowledge into something. This resulted in his first ebook, The Early Retirement Roadmap!
Next week, we're going to revisit mastermind groups. The week after that, we're going to talk about FIRE and getting started on your path to financial independence and early retirement. Check in next week to hear Sean and I chat about these great topics!
This Week's Guest
PPP125: Breaking Down the September 2018 Income Report
Hey Profiteers, welcome to the September 2018 income report! If you follow the Personal Profitability blog, you probably know that I publish an income report every month. Normally, we post a video to YouTube as well, but this month we're going to do something special and run this as part of the Personal Profitability podcast!
What We’re Chatting About This Week
This September, I hit my highest income, ever! This includes when I had my day job AND my side hustle. Of course, that side hustle is now my full-time business (mostly online freelancing). Are you ready for this number? The grand total is…$18,128! That's mindblowing!
We're going to dive in further and break down the profits and losses in this income report. If you're watching my YouTube video, I'll show a screenshot of my QuickBooks account. If you want to check out QuickBooks for your accounting needs, please check out my affiliate link to learn more.
Income for September 2018
My affiliate income was $208.70, which includes income from Personal Captial (affiliate link) and an email advertising service.
I also made $50 from a quick consulting call, $3,600 from a live event sponsorship, and $625 in speaking fees from a few talks I did. Finally, the biggest chunk of my income comes from writing- a whopping $13,644! That all adds up to the $18,128 I brought in this month!
Expenses for September 2018
For advertising and promotion, I spend about $7 every month. Credit card payment fees added up to $28, and computer and internet expenses totaled $846.79 (accounting software, subscription services, website hosting, electronics, etc). The web hosting company I recommend and use is Siteground. Next up, I actually got a refund of $189 on a conference fee I prepaid for, but got a refund since I spoke at the conference.
Employee payroll doesn't show up on my regular income reports, but this is what I pay myself every month. This month, I paid myself $2,233.72. I do this because as an S-Corp, if I get a paycheck, I pay both sides of the self-employment tax. Profits I earn above my paycheck are taxed at a lower rate as pass-through income. This saves me money on taxes. For meals and entertainment while away on business I spent about $133, and $207 on outsourced labor. On postage and delivery I spent $13.
Next up, I paid $940 in payroll taxes (I don't include this number in my income reports). Telecom expenses (anything related to internet and cell phone use) added up to about $96. This breaks down into $44.99 for internet and $50.71 for cell phone service. If you want to learn how I saved 50% on my cell phone bill, check out my article about Google Fi here. Travel expenses including Uber, airport parking, and flights totaled $169.
The total for my expenses comes out to $4,483.97. But about half of that amount is my own paycheck. So really my expenses were only about $2,200, $940 of which were taxes.
Total Net Income for September 2018
My net income for September is $13,643.73, a record month for me! I'm thrilled that I've been able to build up my business to this point after just a few years. I never imagined I'd hit that $10,000/month goal, let alone almost double that amount at $18,128.
Going forward, my plan is to continue expanding the public speaking part of my business into the next year. And that's about it! If you have any questions, please feel free to send me an email or sign up for my FREE Perso...
Thanks for sharing great stories, Eric!
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It’s a fun short listen. Eric is great, enjoy his interviews.
Eric host of Personal Profitability highlights all aspects of personal finance in this can’t miss podcast. The host and expert guests offer insightful advice and information that is helpful to anyone that listens!